The Handy Civil War Answer Book


Beginning with the economic, political, and social forces behind the conflict, continuing to the first shots fired at Fort Sumter, the military strategies, battles, and people, and following Lee's surrender at Appomattox to the reconstruction and modern aftermath, The Handy Civil War Answer Book is a captivating, concise, and convenient history of American's defining conflict.

From the biggest events and battles to the lesser known warriors and women, The Handy Civil War Answer ...

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The Handy Civil War Answer Book

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Beginning with the economic, political, and social forces behind the conflict, continuing to the first shots fired at Fort Sumter, the military strategies, battles, and people, and following Lee's surrender at Appomattox to the reconstruction and modern aftermath, The Handy Civil War Answer Book is a captivating, concise, and convenient history of American's defining conflict.

From the biggest events and battles to the lesser known warriors and women, The Handy Civil War Answer Book presents the war, its participants, and historical significance in an accessible, enjoyable, question-and-answer format. The strategies of Lee, Sherman, and Grant; the key battles, including Gettysburg, Chattanooga, and Chancellorsville; the weapons, the prices of everything from a bale of cotton to a box of ashes; and the fascinating stories of the women, children, and soldiers affected by the carnage are explained and explored. Photos, battlefield maps, and a chronology of major events contribute to the understanding of the War between the States.

The Handy Civil War Answer Book answers over 900 questions, from the mostly widely asked to the more obscure, such as:

How did the Mexican War influence Americans of the 1850s?
How many people had their minds changed by Uncle Tom’s Cabin?
Did Jefferson Davis really mean it—was he sincere—when he used words like "liberty" and "freedom”?
What did people mean when they said Lincoln had the style of a buffoon and the “brain of a giant”?
What was Robert E. Lee’s connection to George Washington?
How does Lincoln’s 1860 election stack up when compared to other major election races?
What is nullification? What is secession? How closely are they linked?
Was there any technical or technological area in which the South held an advantage?
How could General Ambrose Burnside have made such a calamitous error at the Battle of Fredericksburg?
Who were the first black soldiers in the Civil War?
What was so important about the Homestead Act?
Was there any precedent for the Siege of Vicksburg?
Who was Junius Brutus Booth?
Would North and South have been reconciled if Lincoln were not assassinated?
What was, or is, the Solid South?
What happened to the centennial celebrations of the Civil War?

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This title could work as a supplementary American history textbook for high school students or serve as personal reading for Civil War buffs." — Library Journal
Library Journal
Crompton's (history, Holyoke Community Coll.; The Raid on Harpers Ferry; The Boston Tea Party; and numerous YA books on historical topics) series entry covers a narrower subject matter than many titles in the "Handy" series (other titles address subjects such as math, philosophy, chemistry, etc.), and this reviewer has reservations about the choice of this format for a book on the American Civil War. The questions in this Q&A style title seem more like a guide to study than the types of general questions a young adult reader is apt to ask (e.g., "Why did it take so long for Americans to get around to a full-scale debate on slavery?" or "What was the first Confederate inaugural like?"). The material in the appendixes, such as the texts of Jefferson Davis's first inaugural address, Lincoln's second inaugural address, and a list of "Union Regiments That Suffered the Highest Percentage of Total Casualties," is unimpressive. The chronology and "Cast of Characters" might be helpful to users, however. VERDICT This title could work as a supplementary American history textbook for high school students or serve as personal reading for YA Civil War buffs, but it does not succeed as a reference book.—Rosanne Cordell, Northern Illinois Univ., DeKalb
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781578594764
  • Publisher: Visible Ink Press
  • Publication date: 4/15/2014
  • Series: Handy Answer Book Series
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 1,391,360
  • Product dimensions: 7.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Samuel Willard Crompton has taught history to a generation of community college students, bridging the gap between the late analog and the early digital age. He is the author or editor of many books, including one on Ulysses Grant and another on Clara Barton. He was chosen to attend "The Civil War in Trans-National Perspective," an NEH summer program hosted by the Gilder-Lehrman Institute and NYU. One of the key questions the NEH scholars concentrated on was "Who won the Civil War?" While it is quite apparent that as of 1865 the twin causes of Union and Emancipation had prevailed, one can be forgiven for thinking otherwise when examining the South in, say, 1895. Crompton is also a major contributor to the 24-volume American National Biography, which is expected to stand as the premier American biographical reference for the next 50 years. He resides in Hadley, Massachusetts, where, when taking afternoon walks, he often passes a white stone by the side of the road that announces the birthplace of "Fighting Joe" Hooker.

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Read an Excerpt

What was Zouave Fever?

It was a fad, a craze, something that had almost never been seen before. In the late 1850s and early 1860s, thousands, perhaps even hundreds of thousands of Americans caught the fever for the Zouaves.

Dressed more like acrobats than soldiers, and performing drills that elicited deep-throated cheers, the Zouaves were para-military groups that formed all across the nation: North and South, East and West. All Zouave groups took their name and part of their identity from the French Foreign Legion, which had used special tactics to fight a group of Algerian tribesmen of that name. By 1859, the year Elmer Ellsowrth’s group toured, Americans were thrilled, even bowled over by the athletic young men that delighted in showing their tricks to audiences. One imagines that Ellsworth was completing a dream he had nursed in youth: a dream of glory, beauty, and above all, fun.

No one expected that Zouave Fever would lead to, or help along the Civil War. That is precisely what happened, however. When the recruiters—North and South—went into different cities and towns, they spoke of the glories of the military life, and thousands of boys and young men—many of whom had seen the Zouaves on parade—were quick to sign the rosters.

What was it about the b’hoys?

B’hoy was an imitation of the Irish speech in New York City, and Ellsworth wanted to create a Zouave Brigade composed entirely of New York City firemen. By imitating their speech—at least on occasion—and by inspiring them to join the Union cause, Ellsworth performed a great service for the North. He made military service fashionable.

On arriving in New York City, Ellsworth declared his intention to enlist 1,000 men. He had that number within a single day. The New York firemen were volunteers, aggressive men, and natural brawlers.

What did the British government have to say about secession and war?

Queen Victoria issued a statement in April 1861, declaring that England was happily at peace with all “Sovereigns, Powers, and States” and given that she was at peace with the United States, she enjoined her subjects to observe a “strict and impartial neutrality” in the American Civil War.

It is difficult to say precisely what the feeling was on the part of the English people. Historians, generally, believe that the upper class of England was somewhat favorable to the Confederacy, while its working class was distinctly favorable to the Union. It should be pointed out that the British laborer, in Manchester, Liverpool, or Leeds had more to gain from an alliance with the Confederacy than he had to lose with an alliance with the Union. Even so, the British working class generally remained sympathetic to the North throughout the war, a powerful testimony to the importance of Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

When did the New York Times go to a Sunday printing?

On Sunday, April 21, 1861. One day after the amazing Union flag day, on April 20, the Times became a seven-day-a-week newspaper, and it has never looked back.

What was the Baltimore riot of 1861?

Baltimore was known as one of the most contentious cities in the nation. Back in 1812, there had been a mob attack on a newspaper headquarters: one of the persons badly injured that day was Light Horse Harry Lee, father of Robert E. But things were much worse in 1861, thanks to Baltimore’s position as the northernmost of all southern places, and the southernmost of all northern ones.

On April 19, 1861, which just happened to be the anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the Massachusetts Sixth Regiment of volunteers was attacked by a crowd as it changed trains in Baltimore. Three soldiers were killed, as were several civilians, and there was an undetermined number of wounded. The Massachusetts Sixth made it through to Washington D.C., to Abraham Lincoln’s great relief, but it was more apparent than ever that the national capital was imperiled by the proximity of Maryland in general and Baltimore in specific.

When did the Old Dominion make its first move?

On April 17, 1861, the Virginia convention voted to secede from the Union, making Virginia the eighth state to join the Confederacy.

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Table of Contents

Cast of Characters
1 The Road to Harpers Ferry
2 Election and Secession
3 First Blood
4 A Rich Man’s War and a Poor Man’s Fight
5 Crimson Tide
6 The Home Front
7 Gettysburg, Vicksburg, and Battery Wagner
8 Battles for the West
9 Total War
10 The Final Struggles
11 Elegies and Eulogies

12 The Civil War in the National Memory
Appendix A: Jefferson Davis First Inaugural Address, February 18, 1861
Appendix B: Abraham Lincolns First Inaugural Address,, March 4, 1861
Appendix C: The Emancipation Proclamation, January 1, 1863
Appendix D: The Gettysburg Address, November 23, 1863
Appendix E: Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address, March 4, 1865
Appendix F: Appendix F: Jefferson Davis conversation with Gilmore and Jaquess, July 17, 1864
Appendix G: Conversation between Secretary of War Stanton and Major General William T. Sherman, January 12, 1865
Appendix H: The Thirteenth Amendment
Appendix I: Union Regiments that Suffered the Highest Percentage of Total Casualties

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