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April 1865: The Month That Saved America

Average Rating 4.5
( 75 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(45)

4 Star

(19)

3 Star

(5)

2 Star

(5)

1 Star

(1)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Good book for the history buff.

The first third of the book involves the build-up to "the month", with emphasis on Thomas Jefferson and Robert E. Lee as intelligent, noble, but conflicted Southerners. You learn why the Confederacy formed and why it persisted when the military odds against it became in...
The first third of the book involves the build-up to "the month", with emphasis on Thomas Jefferson and Robert E. Lee as intelligent, noble, but conflicted Southerners. You learn why the Confederacy formed and why it persisted when the military odds against it became insumountable. This part of the book is a bit sterile and distant, as there are few interpersonal relationships. When the book actually enters April, 1865, the tact of the book changes, with good descriptions of President Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, U.S. Grant, President Johnson, Edwin Stanton, and Charles Sumner. The threats and opportunities for disaster to the Union are well-played, and the intrigue is palpable. This book is heavily referenced, almost 1/6 of the total length of the book. Definitely a book for the history buff rather than general reader, but don't confuse this as dry academics. If you're looking to improve on your high school U.S. history, this is a good "chapter", but also add to it "chapters" on December, 1776; August, 1813; April, 1845; and November, 1963.

posted by zippy995 on March 27, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

Not what I expected.

I thought the book was going to be about April 1865. Unfortunately, a lot of it was the history leading up to April 1865. I understand that if you did not know the prior history it would have been impossible to appreciate. However, I would hope that anyone buying thi...
I thought the book was going to be about April 1865. Unfortunately, a lot of it was the history leading up to April 1865. I understand that if you did not know the prior history it would have been impossible to appreciate. However, I would hope that anyone buying this book would already have the historical perspective. I am glad I read it and would read another book by Jay Wink. I guess I just expected 200 pages that got deeply into the 30 day time period.

posted by gt on March 23, 2009

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  • Posted December 30, 2011

    Pass on this one!

    Massive disappointment. Mr. Winik seems more interested in playing the role of contrarian than actual documentarian of the topic. He continuously impugns Lincoln as a political opportunist while extolling the virtues of Lee and Johnston as Southern gentlemen. One gets the feeling that if Mr. Winik was born 150 years earlier he would have been a PR flack for the Confederate States of America.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2003

    Very Disappointing - Nothing New Here

    I can't understand how this book became a best seller and why it gets such glowing reviews. Maybe most people don't know a whole lot about the Civil War. Otherwise they'd realize that Winik breaks no new ground here but simply rehashes what is already known. If he were a good writer, maybe I wouldn't mind, but he's awful. (And where was the copy editor for this thing? Grammatical and usage errors abound.) He makes errors of fact as well. What a disappointment. The only enjoyment I had from this book was putting Post-its on pages that contained errors.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2001

    Where's the beef?

    I anticipated a thorough tracking of the events in the month of April 1865. Unfortunately, the author spent more time doing bios on the participants than digging into a month fraught with intrigue. The book was an easy read but at times took on the character of a novel rather than history.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2006

    good material, poor presentation

    There is a lot of good material to present, but not enough to fill 14 lectures. Our narrator has to repeat the same idea many times to fill in the gaps, and it gets very cumbersome after the first couple. I like the idea of the Portable Professor series, but was disappointed in my first purchase.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2006

    Disappointing

    I was very disappointed in this set of CDs. I found the lectures cumbersome to listen to with a great deal of repetition and also slips of the tongue that resulted in obvious inaccuracies. I have listened to a great many professors on the Teach12 series, all of which are far superior to this set of lectures. The facts and insights are engaging at times, but the lecture style is weak. The information could have been easily condensed down to four good, compact lectures.

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