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The Civil War

Overview

"The Civil War defined us as what we are and it opened us to being what we became, good and bad things.... It was the crossroads of our being, and it was a hell of a crossroads: the suffering, the enormous tragedy of the whole thing."- Shelby Foote, from The Civil War

  When the illustrated edition of The Civil War was first published, The New York Time hailed it as "a treasure for the eye and mind." Now Geoffrey Ward's magisterial work of history is ...

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Overview

"The Civil War defined us as what we are and it opened us to being what we became, good and bad things.... It was the crossroads of our being, and it was a hell of a crossroads: the suffering, the enormous tragedy of the whole thing."- Shelby Foote, from The Civil War

  When the illustrated edition of The Civil War was first published, The New York Time hailed it as "a treasure for the eye and mind." Now Geoffrey Ward's magisterial work of history is available in a text-only edition that interweaves the author's narrative with the voices of the men and women who lived through the cataclysmic trial of our nationhood: not just Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, and Robert E. Lee, but genteel Southern ladies and escaped slaves, cavalry officers and common foot soldiers who fought in Yankee blue and Rebel gray.

     The Civil War also includes essays by our most distinguished historians of the era: Don E. Fehrenbacher, on the war's origins; Barbara J. Fields, on the freeing of the slaves; Shelby Foote, on the war's soldiers and commanders; James M. McPherson, on the political dimensions of the struggle; and C. Vann Woodward, assessing the America that emerged from the war's ashes.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

The complete text of the bestselling narrative history of the Civil War--based on the celebrated PBS television series. The illustrated edition interweaves the author's narrative with the voices of the men and women who lived through that cataclysmic trail of our nationhood, from Abraham Lincoln to ordinary foot soldiers. Includes essays by distinguished historians of the era.

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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

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780739357330
  • Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/4/2007
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Abridged, 3 CDs, 3 hours
  • Sales rank: 968,247
  • Product dimensions: 5.09 (w) x 5.84 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet the Author

Geoffrey C. Ward wrote the script for the film series The War and is the winner of five Emmys® and two Writers Guild of America awards for his work for public television. He is also a historian and biographer and the author of fourteen books, including most recently Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson. He won the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1989 and the Francis Parkman Prize in 1990. He lives in New York City.

Ken Burns, producer and director of the film series The War, founded his own documentary company, Florentine Films, in 1976. His films include 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 the Emmy® and Peabody Awards, and two Academy Award® nominations. He lives in Aloe, New Hampshire.

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