The Civil War: An Illustrated History

The Civil War: An Illustrated History

3.8 45
by Geoffrey C. Ward
     
 

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The companion volume to the celebrated PBS television series, with a new preface to mark its twenty-fifth anniversary
 
With more than 500 illustrations: rare Civil War photographs—many never before published—as well as paintings, lithographs, and maps reproduced in full color
 
It was the greatest war

Overview

The companion volume to the celebrated PBS television series, with a new preface to mark its twenty-fifth anniversary
 
With more than 500 illustrations: rare Civil War photographs—many never before published—as well as paintings, lithographs, and maps reproduced in full color
 
It was the greatest war in American history. It was waged in 10,000 places—from Valverde, New Mexico, and Tullahoma, Tennessee, to St. Albans, Vermont, and Fernandina on the Florida coast. More than 3 million Americans fought in it and more than 600,000 men died in it. Not only the immensity of the cataclysm but the new weapons, the new standards of generalship, and the new strategies of destruction—together with the birth of photography—were to make the Civil War an event present ever since in the American consciousness. Thousands of books have been written about it. Yet there has never been a history of the Civil War quite like this one.
 
A wealth of documentary illustrations and a narrative alive with original and energetic scholarship combine to present both the grand sweep of events and the minutest of human details. Here are the crucial events of the war: the firing of the first shots at Fort Sumter; the battles of Shiloh, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg; the siege of Vicksburg; Sherman’s dramatic march to the sea; the surrender at Appomattox. Here are the superb portraits of the key figures: Abraham Lincoln, claiming for the presidency almost autocratic power in order to preserve the Union; the austere Jefferson Davis, whose government disappeared almost before it could be formed; Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant, seasoned generals of fierce brilliance and reckless determination. Here is the America in which the war was fought: The Civil War is not simply the story of great battles and great generals; it is also an elaborate portrait of the American people—individuals and families, northerners and southerners, soldiers and civilians, slaves and slaveowners, rich and poor, urban and rural—caught up in the turbulence of the times.
 
An additional resonance is provided by four essays, the work of prominent Civil War historians. Don E. Fehrenbacher discusses the causes of the war; Barbara J. Fields writes about emancipation; James M. McPherson looks at the politics of the 1864 election; C. Vann Woodward speculates on how the war has affected the American identity. And Shelby Foote talks to filmmaker Ken Burns about wartime life on the battlefield and at home.
 
A magnificent book. In its visual power, its meticulous research, its textual brilliance, and the humanity of its narrative, The Civil War will stand among the most illuminating and memorable portrayals of the American past. 

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An absorbing experience... A fine work of scholarship."- Boston Globe

"Succeeds in evoking both the grandeur of the war and its basic humanity."- Chicago Tribune

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Companion volume to a forthcoming PBS series, this is an extraordinary collection of photos, engravings and paintings, many published for the first time, conveying military and political events of the Civil War, accompanied by a pungent text that avoids sentimentality in depicting "the most horrible, necessary, intimate, acrimonious, mean-spirited, and heroic'' war in our history. Typical illustrations include a photo of a pile of amputated feet, four pages of clinical portraits of maimed soldiers, photos of nurses at work in hospitals and rare studio portraits of slaves among some 500 illustrations which, in combination with the text, present a memorable record of the War Between the States. The book, assembled by Ward, author of A First Class Temperament: The Emergence of Franklin Roosevelt, and historians Ken and Ric Burns, also includes original essays by distinguished historians James M. McPherson and C. Vann Woodward among others, and an edifying interview with historian Shelby Foote. BOMC main selection. (Sept.)
Library Journal
Filled with vignettes of generals, soldiers, and women on the home front, and spiced by personal accounts of battles and camp life, this book presents the war as the central defining event of American history and of the lives of those Americans caught up in it. In four separate, additional essays, professional historians briefly discuss the causes of the war, emancipation, the politics of the war, and its long-term meaning. Ward's running narrative will cause scholars to wince at his occasional hyperbole, but readers will thrill to his brisk prose, ironic sense, and eye for detail--and to the 500+ photographs studding the volume (some startling, several never before published). Intended as the companion to a nine-part PBS-TV series on the Civil War, this compelling work should command its own large audience. No book can fully capture the intensity of the war, but this volume approaches it. Highly recommended for public and college libraries. BOMC main selection; previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 5/1/90.--Randall M. Miller, St. Joseph's Univ., Philadelphia
School Library Journal
YA-- A glowing companion volume to the celebrated PBS television series that is informative and poignant. After exhausting research in museums, libraries, and newspapers, 475 images were selected to show readers what people, places, and events looked like during this crisis that shook the foundation of American civilization. The text that accompanies these illustrations is often the voices of the men and women who lived it. Extensive use of diaries, letters, and newspaper accounts bring the world of the 1860s to life. Five Civil War historians provide essays that add a third dimension to this fascinating work. A selected bibliography that includes some of the most noted works on the Civil War and a complete index are included. The book can be used as a companion to the PBS series or as a valuable resource on its own. It should be included in all Civil War collections.--Dolores M. Steinhauer, Jefferson Sci-Tech, Alexandria, VA

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780679742777
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/28/1992
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
452
Sales rank:
361,055
Product dimensions:
9.25(w) x 10.80(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Geoffrey C. Ward is a historian and biographer and the author of seventeen books. He won the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1989 and the Francis Parkman Prize in 1990. He is also the winner of seven Emmys and two Writers Guild of America Awards for his work for public television. He lives in New York City.
 
Ric Burns, founder of Steeplechase Films, produced and co-wrote The Civil War. He is best known for his Emmy and DuPont Award–winning PBS documentary series, New York. He has made many award-winning films for public television, including Coney Island, The Donner Party, The Way West, Ansel Adams, Eugene O’Neill, Andy Warhol, and American Ballet Theatre: A History.
 
Ken Burns’s films include The Roosevelts, The National Parks, The War, Jazz, Baseball, and The Civil War, which was the highest-rated series in the history of American public television. His work has won numerous prizes, including Emmy and Peabody Awards, two Academy Award nominations, and a Lifetime Achievement Emmy Award. He lives in Walpole, New Hampshire.

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Civil War 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 44 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I feel this book was misrepresented on the review purchase page. Where are all the photographs and maps which were refered to. That was a major selling point which infuenced my purchase, I certainly feel cheated with this purchase. I love my Nook but occassionally we are getting Took!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing. It is comprehensive and well written. The photos enhance the subject matter. I have read other texts which have been interesting, yet harder to go through. This textbook covers the subject matter in a commendable manner. The material is enhanced by actual individual accounts of the war. The read was fast-paced, I could not put the book down. I definitely would highly recommend this text to all interested in the history of the Civil War.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The way the book is laid out is great. It has a lot of detailed information. There are a lot of really great pictures and illustrations. I love the brown/tin-type photos in real color rather than basic black and white. I highly recommend this book for any history lover, especially an avid Civil War buff like myself!
JDR80 More than 1 year ago
This book was easy to read and in sensible order. Not a lot of confusing descriptions of troop movements and numbers. The pictures are very crisp and animations were smooth. It also has a lot of information on lesser known "common" soldiers and nurses.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very interesting book. Good read and the pictures help you connect with the actual people of the time. I also was unable to scroll past page 3. There seems to be a glitch in the program at that point. But all you have to do is pull up the bar at the bottom of the page and type in go to page 4 or whatever page you want. The program will take you to that page and you will be able to scroll forward from there.
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Hugh Hendrix More than 1 year ago
This book does not work. You only can get to page #3. Barnes&Noble provides suggestion to fix that do not work.
Jeannie A Moseler More than 1 year ago
First post about this issue was August 2 - it is now August 17th and it still doesn't work -what's up with this B&N?
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