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Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era (1988)

by James M. McPherson

Other authors: C. Vann Woodward (Introduction)

Series: The Oxford History of the United States (6)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5,322751,954 (4.44)283
Filled with fresh interpretations and information, puncturing old myths and challenging new ones, this fast-paced narrative fully integrates the political, social, and military events that crowded the two decades from the outbreak of one war in Mexico to the ending of another at Appomattox. Packed with drama and analytical insight, the book vividly recounts the momentous episodes that preceded the Civil War: the Dred Scott decision, the Lincoln-Douglas debates, John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry. It then moves into a chronicle of the war itself, the battles, the strategic maneuvering on both sides, the politics, and the personalities. Particularly notable are new views on such matters as the slavery expansion issue in the 1850s, the origins of the Republican Party, the causes of secession, internal dissent and anti-war opposition in the North and the South, and the reasons for the Union's victory. The book's title refers to the sentiments that informed both the Northern and Southern views of the conflict: the South seceded in the name of that freedom of self-determination and self-government for which their fathers had fought in 1776, while the North stood fast in defense of the Union founded by those fathers as the bulwark of American liberty. Eventually, the North had to grapple with the underlying cause of the war, slavery, and adopt a policy of emancipation as a second war aim. This "new birth of freedom," as Lincoln called it, constitutes the proudest legacy of America's bloodiest conflict. This volume makes sense of that vast and confusing "second American Revolution" we call the Civil War, a war that transformed a nation and expanded our heritage of liberty.… (more)
  1. 60
    Ulysses S. Grant : Memoirs and Selected Letters : Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant / Selected Letters, 1839-1865 by Ulysses S. Grant (wildbill)
    wildbill: This is the Library of America edition of Grant's memoirs which I think is preferable. Any edition of Grant's memoirs will be informative and enjoyable.
  2. 20
    A Stillness at Appomattox by Bruce Catton (wcfreels)
    wcfreels: Just finished it for the first time last week. Best read on the Civil War I've ever read. So well written that, unlike the soldiers, I hated to see it end.
  3. 10
    In the Presence of Mine Enemies: The Civil War in the Heart of America, 1859-1863 by Edward L. Ayers (eromsted)
  4. 21
    The Civil War Dictionary by Mark Boatner (wildbill)
  5. 10
    The Man Who Saved the Union: Ulysses Grant in War and Peace by H. W. Brands (charlie68)
  6. 10
    The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery by Eric Foner (charlie68)
  7. 11
    Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad by Eric Foner (charlie68)
    charlie68: History of the Underground Railroad during the same era.
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» See also 283 mentions

English (74)  Dutch (1)  All languages (75)
Showing 1-5 of 74 (next | show all)
Simply one of the finest books I have ever read. ( )
  MylesKesten | Jan 23, 2024 |
This narrative history of the civil war both entertained and educated me about probably the most significant events in our national history. The war was both inevitable and foundation for many of the current political and social conflicts of today. I cannot emphasize how important and good this single volume history is. ( )
  wvlibrarydude | Jan 14, 2024 |
I thought then, and think now, that this is the finest one volume history of The Civil War. I might be persuaded to go further and say it's the finest history of The Civil War, period. Great book, incredible story, and written as such as opposed to a dry recitation of facts. Gifted writer. ( )
  rpnrch | Oct 22, 2023 |
This is a reread, and it is still my opinion that you will be hard pressed to find a better single-volume history of the American Civil War. ( )
  everettroberts | Oct 20, 2023 |
recommended on AP US history listserv

and by Rich
  pollycallahan | Jul 1, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 74 (next | show all)
With this major work, McPherson (History/Princeton; Ordeal by Fire) cements his reputation as one of the finest Civil War historians. The volume begins with a deft description of the ragged American army trudging into Mexico City in 1847. From there, the narrative speeds through 28 chapters that draw a precise and lively picture of what America and Americans were like in mid-19th century. McPherson delineates the issues that galvanized and divided the American public from the end of the Mexican War in 1848 to the opening of the Civil War in 1861, providing thorough explanations of the pre-war period's gravest crises—the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act and the prairie guerrilla war it started; the national clamor over the Dred Scott case; anti-Catholic and anti-immigrant violence and the brief life of the nativist Know-Nothing Party; and the panic over John Brown's raid on Harpers Ferry in 1859.
added by Richardrobert | editKirkus Reviews (Jan 15, 1988)
 

» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
McPherson, James M.Authorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Woodward, C. VannIntroductionsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
To Van and Willie

and to the memory of

Glenn and Bill

Who introduced me to the world of history and academia in the good old days at Hopkins
First words
Both sides in the American Civil War professed to be fighting for freedom. (Preface)
On the morning of September 14, 1847, brilliant sunshine burned off the haze in Mexico City.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (53)

16th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiment

20th Indiana Infantry Regiment

21st Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry

29th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry

68th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment

Appomattox Campaign

Camp Douglas (Chicago)

Caning of Charles Sumner

Chambersburg Raid

Confederate Memorial (Wilmington, North Carolina)

Daniel H. Reynolds

Dix–Hill Cartel

Josiah Gorgas

List of American Civil War generals

List of American Civil War generals (Union)

List of publications by James M. McPherson

Military medicine

Militia Act of 1862

Filled with fresh interpretations and information, puncturing old myths and challenging new ones, this fast-paced narrative fully integrates the political, social, and military events that crowded the two decades from the outbreak of one war in Mexico to the ending of another at Appomattox. Packed with drama and analytical insight, the book vividly recounts the momentous episodes that preceded the Civil War: the Dred Scott decision, the Lincoln-Douglas debates, John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry. It then moves into a chronicle of the war itself, the battles, the strategic maneuvering on both sides, the politics, and the personalities. Particularly notable are new views on such matters as the slavery expansion issue in the 1850s, the origins of the Republican Party, the causes of secession, internal dissent and anti-war opposition in the North and the South, and the reasons for the Union's victory. The book's title refers to the sentiments that informed both the Northern and Southern views of the conflict: the South seceded in the name of that freedom of self-determination and self-government for which their fathers had fought in 1776, while the North stood fast in defense of the Union founded by those fathers as the bulwark of American liberty. Eventually, the North had to grapple with the underlying cause of the war, slavery, and adopt a policy of emancipation as a second war aim. This "new birth of freedom," as Lincoln called it, constitutes the proudest legacy of America's bloodiest conflict. This volume makes sense of that vast and confusing "second American Revolution" we call the Civil War, a war that transformed a nation and expanded our heritage of liberty.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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Recorded Books

2 editions of this book were published by Recorded Books.

Editions: 1461813808, 1461813816

 

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