American Civil War: The Essential Reference Guide

Overview

Coinciding with the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, American Civil War: The Essential Reference Guide offers an accessible, single-volume source on the conflict that helped define the American nation. Enhanced by historical illustrations and documents, this guide promotes a nuanced understanding of the events, personalities, and issues related to the war and its aftermath.

In addition to an A–Z encyclopedia of major leaders, events, and issues, this work ...

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Overview

Coinciding with the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, American Civil War: The Essential Reference Guide offers an accessible, single-volume source on the conflict that helped define the American nation. Enhanced by historical illustrations and documents, this guide promotes a nuanced understanding of the events, personalities, and issues related to the war and its aftermath.

In addition to an A–Z encyclopedia of major leaders, events, and issues, this work includes a comprehensive overview essay on the war, plus separate essays by a prominent Civil War historian on its causes and consequences. Perspective essays tackle such widely debated issues as the primary cause of the Confederate defeat and will inspire readers to exercise critical thinking skills. Biographies of military and political leaders provide insights about those individuals who played major roles in the conflict, while entries on key battles showcase the strategies of both sides as they struggled to emerge victorious.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"With the 150th anniversary of the conflict underway, editors Arnold and Wiener have put together a handy resource that takes a manifold approach, combining an A–Z encyclopedia format with 20 lengthy, illustrative primary documents; an extensive chronology; and a handful of significant essays that tackle the causality and consequences of the Civil War. . . . Sources such as this will be indispensible to collections supporting middle and high-school curriculums."

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Booklist

"Libraries that need single-volume Civil War ready reference or report material will appreciate this work. It combines opening essays featuring analysis of the war's causes, consequences, and historical controversies; 100 encyclopedia entries; a selection of primary-source readings; and a highly detailed time line. The clearly written analytical essays place aspects of the war into context, and authors discuss opposing viewpoints and competing historical theories, but blame slavery and its defenders for the conflict."

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School Library Journal

"Commemorating the 150th-year anniversary of the Civil War's beginning, editors Arnold and Wiener have compiled an inexpensive volume that covers the major military figures, battles, and panoply of war, along with the social and political forces that led to the conflict. . . . Recommended."

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Choice

"In the Civil War domain of reference it is a very fine work built upon the solid writing and work of 37 scholars, of whom about one-third are independent. The publisher was smart to secure esteemed historian Steven E. Woodworth as a lead writer. His essay contributions include valuable treatments on an Overview of the ACW, Causes of the ACW, Consequences of the ACW, and Leadership in the ACW."

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The Civil War Gazette

Library Journal
This run-of-the-mill rundown of major players (politicians, generals), significant battles (Antietam, Gettysburg, Shiloh), and other important aspects of the war in general includes representative entries on industry, medicine, and railroads. While supplementary materials such as primary-source documents, a chronology, and thematic essays add value, these would be better positioned in the main text, and in general the book just doesn't provide enough material. Its 90 articles are spread out over 223 pages that measure a mere 7" x 10". There is no introductory material, so it is unclear what prompted the decision to produce yet another Civil War reference work when so many other—and better—sources are available. Even more perplexing is that this publisher produced in 2000 what is considered the gold standard in the field, David S. Heidler and Jeanne T. Heidler's Encyclopedia of the American Civil War: A Political, Social, and Military History. With 1600-plus articles, more and better illustrations, five appendixes, and other bonus material, that five-volume work (later to reappear in one massive volume published by Norton) is tops but unfortunately out of print. BOTTOM LINE Libraries that can find a copy should consider the Heidlers' work, which is the last word in American Civil War reference, instead of this title.—Michael Bemis, Minnesota Dept. of Corrections Lib., Oak Park Heights
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Libraries that need single-volume Civil War ready reference or report material will appreciate this work. It combines opening essays featuring analysis of the war's causes, consequences, and historical controversies; 100 encyclopedia entries; a selection of primary-source readings; and a highly detailed time line. The clearly written analytical essays place aspects of the war into context, and authors discuss opposing viewpoints and competing historical theories, but blame slavery and its defenders for the conflict. The entries in the main body of the encyclopedia run from one to six pages in length and include short further-reading lists. Some explore broad topics such as slavery, medicine, and Union and Confederate economies and war strategies, but most discuss military and civilian leaders and battles. The primary-source readings include laws, speeches, and private letters that reflect contemporaneous public opinion and official reactions to the war. Black-and-white battle maps and period photographs and cartoons, with brief identification captions, supplement the text. Indexing is thorough. Although the single-volume format limits coverage and topics are generally standard for Civil War references, this book has a higher reading level and more advanced analysis than Grolier's multivolume The Civil War (2004) and is a good choice for secondary collections.—Mary Mueller, Rolla Junior High School, MO
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781598849059
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 7/19/2011
  • Pages: 432
  • Product dimensions: 7.30 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 1.30 (d)

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