Describes the events leading up to the Civil War, the major conflicts, the lives of the soldiers, and the outcome of the war.
Children's LiteratureIn many ways, the Civil War continues to stand as a watershed in American history. Prior to the Civil War each state was perceived as having great autonomy in a federation that was somewhat voluntary in nature. After 1865 it became clear that the United States was a singular concept, with the Federal Government holding sway. Graves' book captures some of the information necessary to understand this monumental conflict. Attention is given to the multiple causes of the war. Slavery, sectional discord, economic differences, and political failures all contributed to the coming of the war. Once Fort Sumter was fired upon and the war came, Americans were ill prepared for either the waging of war or the eventual bloody costs. At the outset of the Civil War the great myth was that it would be a relatively short, bloodless conflict. Four years and over 600,000 deaths later, this pathetic myths proved untrue. Battles of unheard violence occurred in places such as Gettysburg, Antietam, Chickamauga, and Shiloh. Eventually, the Confederacy succumbed to the might of the Union Army. Slavery ceased to be a scourge upon the nation and America moved on to a period of expansion, immigration, and industrial development. The Civil War stands out as a series of events that shaped the fundamental direction and scope of the American nation. Through the sacrifices of millions of Americans, the future of "the last best hope" of democracy was preserved and expanded. This thoughtful, illustrated introduction helps set the stage for students of the era. The author also includes the daily struggles of common soldiers. Part of the "America Goes to War" series. 2001, Capstone Books. Ages 9 to 12. Reviewer: Greg M.Romaneck
School Library JournalGr 6-10-The variety of topics addressed in this set will give students a wide perspective on the conflict, showing how it changed virtually every aspect of life in the U.S. While the alphabetically arranged entries cover such traditional topics as strategies, battles, and leaders, other articles examine civilian and military life during the War, costume and dress, finance, politics, literature, trade, and the Union and Confederate home fronts. Many incorporate material on the lives and war efforts of women and free and enslaved African Americans. The clearly written, objective entries, ranging in length from one to six pages, all offer basic analysis. Some, such as those that cover the legacy of the war, the blockade, and important leaders, offer differing historical interpretations of their subjects. However, a line about what happened to the slaves owned by George Washington and Thomas Jefferson at the time of their deaths is a bit misleading. The cross-referenced text is supplemented with battle maps as well as numerous period photos and illustrations, many in color, and all have captions with information not found in the text. Sideboxes highlighted in pastel colors offer information on a range of topics from spar torpedoes and "Camp Punishments" to "The Raid as Strategy" and "Moving and Firing Field Artillery." Each book includes a set glossary. The set index, also in every volume, is adequate, but coverage is not always complete for topics mentioned within the body of entries. This attractive, up-to-date set will replace such resources as The American Civil War (Grolier, 1994).-Mary Mueller, Rolla Junior High School, MO Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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