Eyewitness to the Civil War

Overview

At once an informed overview for general-interest readers and a superb resource for serious buffs, this extraordinary, gloriously illustrated volume is sure to become one of the fundamental books in any Civil War library. Its features include a dramatic narrative packed with eyewitness accounts and hundreds of rare photographs, artifacts, and period illustrations. Evocative sidebars, detailed maps, and timelines add to the reference-ready quality of the text.

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Overview

At once an informed overview for general-interest readers and a superb resource for serious buffs, this extraordinary, gloriously illustrated volume is sure to become one of the fundamental books in any Civil War library. Its features include a dramatic narrative packed with eyewitness accounts and hundreds of rare photographs, artifacts, and period illustrations. Evocative sidebars, detailed maps, and timelines add to the reference-ready quality of the text.

From John Brown's raid to Reconstruction, Eyewitness to the Civil War presents a clear, comprehensive discussion that addresses every military, political, and social aspect of this crucial period. In-depth descriptions of campaigns and battles in all theaters of war are accompanied by a thorough evaluation of the nonmilitary elements of the struggle between North and South. In their own words, commanders and common soldiers in both armies tell of life on the battlefield and behind the lines, while letters from wives, mothers, and sisters provide a portrait of the home front. More than 375 historical photographs, portraits, and artifacts—many never before published—evoke the era's flavor; and detailed maps of terrain and troop movements make it easy to follow the strategies and tactics of Union and Confederate generals as they fought through four harsh years of war. Photoessays on topics ranging from the everyday lives of soldiers to the dramatic escapades of the cavalry lend a breathtaking you-are-there feeling, and an inclusive appendix adds even more detail to what is already a magnificently meticulous history.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Most Civil War history books focus on presidents, generals, politics, and military maneuvers. The experience of the common solider, women, children, and African Americans are discussed more rarely. Through the use of over 440 textual and visual sources, this work sheds light on the experiences of all those affected by the war. Edited by Kagan (former publisher & managing editor, Time-Life Books; Great Battles of the Civil War), with contributing author Stephen Hyslop (National Geographic Almanac of World History) and contributing military historian Harris J. Andrews (Echoes of Glory), the book is divided into seven lavishly illustrated sections. The chronologically arranged chapters take the reader from the divisive years leading to the war through the end of Reconstruction in 1877. Each chapter includes a chronology and draws from diaries and letters, newspaper articles and illustrations, and photographs and maps to tell stories of the participants from both the battlefield and the home front. Appendixes include statistics on casualties of the war, a selected list of milestones, a glossary, and a list of sources for the images used. Archival collections from around the country were tapped, and the photographs have been reproduced using the most modern techniques. Though any work of this nature must simplify the story, this is a good introductory volume for those not already knowledgeable about the war. It would be a fine addition to circulating or reference collections in larger public libraries whose shelves are not already overflowing with Civil War volumes, but it is not recommended for larger academic collections.
—Theresa McDevitt
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780792262060
  • Publisher: National Geographic Society
  • Publication date: 11/21/2006
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 351,699
  • Product dimensions: 9.39 (w) x 11.21 (h) x 1.38 (d)

Meet the Author

Neil Kagan, editor, heads Kagan & Associates Inc., a firm specializing in innovative illustrated books, and is the guiding spirit behind numerous book series including Voices of the Civil War and Our American Century. Recently he edited Great Battles of the Civil War, Great Photographs of the Civil War,and National Geographic Concise History of the World. He lives in Falls Church, Virginia.

Stephen G. Hyslop is a writer and editor of books on American and world history, including National Geographic Almanac of World History (with Patricia Daniels). He served as editor for the history series Time Frame, What Life Was Like, and American Indians. He is a contributing writer for History Channel Magazine.

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