Upon the Altar of the Nation: A Moral History of the Civil War

Overview

A profound and timely examination of the moral underpinnings of the War Between the States

The Civil War was not only a war of armies but also a war of ideas, in which Union and Confederacy alike identified itself as a moral nation with God on its side. In this watershed book, Harry S. Stout measures the gap between those claims and the war’s actual conduct. Ranging from the home front to the trenches and drawing on a wealth of contemporary documents, Stout explores the lethal ...

See more details below
Paperback (Reprint)
$14.53
BN.com price
(Save 19%)$18.00 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (57) from $1.99   
  • New (18) from $2.10   
  • Used (39) from $1.99   
Upon the Altar of the Nation: A Moral History of the Civil War

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$14.99
BN.com price

Overview

A profound and timely examination of the moral underpinnings of the War Between the States

The Civil War was not only a war of armies but also a war of ideas, in which Union and Confederacy alike identified itself as a moral nation with God on its side. In this watershed book, Harry S. Stout measures the gap between those claims and the war’s actual conduct. Ranging from the home front to the trenches and drawing on a wealth of contemporary documents, Stout explores the lethal mix of propaganda and ideology that came to justify slaughter on and off the battlefield. At a time when our country is once again at war, Upon the Altar of the Nation is a deeply necessary book.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In the Civil War, Union and Confederate soldiers alike marched to battle believing God was on their side. Stout, professor of American religious history at Yale (The New England Soul), artfully and eloquently examines the evolving rhetoric of warfare, both Northern and Confederate, within the rubric of "the just war" theory of conflict. Stout dissects such public documents as editorials, sermons and speeches, and private documents like diaries and letters, to trace the trajectory of both sides' rationales for war. But he also makes clear that most high-minded utterances obscured, rather than clarified, the economic issues that lay at the heart of the conflict. Stout argues that even today the moral justifications for the carnage ring louder than do the sordid dollar-and-cents realities that underlay sectional differences. As Stout shows, the Civil War remains with us today as an exercise of civil religion: altars of the two conflicting faiths stand side-by-side at Gettysburg and other venues, sacralized slices of patriotism painted in shades of gray or blue. Stout's contention that even the North engaged in immoral acts in prosecuting the war will rattle many, but the questions he raises are important in an era when humanitarian justifications for war are increasingly common. 24 b&w illus., 5 maps, not seen by PW. (On sale Jan. 23) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
The publisher has great expectations for Yale religious historian Stout's account of the Civil War as righteous cause. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Was the Civil War just? Both sides thought so, writes religious historian Stout (American Religious History/Yale Univ.), but only one was correct by any modern calculus. There are dangers in viewing long-past actions through modern eyes; what would have seemed perfectly natural to Caesar is today's enormity. Stout reckons that "just-war theory" has been operational, though, for many centuries, and some of the concerns of those who fought in the Civil War remain of concern today. More remote are the notions of manhood that motivated behavior on both sides of the line, though any West Pointer will understand the agonies Southern cadets went through in determining what sort of duty and honor were owed to what country. (Stout notes that 21 Southern cadets remained to serve in the Union army, whereas all Southern students at Princeton went home.) Both sides searched for signs that theirs was the just one; both declared that God was with them. Had it been merely a bloodletting over states' rights, Stout suggests, then neither side would have had much moral claim; but the fact that slavery was central to the argument and that the Union war widened-if only eventually-into an abolitionist one changed the equation. Along the way, visiting one moral dilemma after another, Stout remarks on Grant's ending of prisoner exchanges, for instance, which came about because returned rebels violated parole to return to the ranks, and Grant reckoned that he could afford more men in prison than the Confederates could, a moral tap dance if ever there was one; and he notes that at a time of pandemic anguish during Lincoln's second inauguration, the Christian right lamented not so much bloodshed or a broken nationas the fact that Andrew Johnson turned up drunk. Of interest to students of ethics and religious history; Civil War specialists will not find much new, but Stout offers an interesting way of looking at well-known events.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780143038764
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/27/2007
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 576
  • Sales rank: 790,888
  • Product dimensions: 6.02 (w) x 8.96 (h) x 1.32 (d)

Meet the Author

Harry S. Stout is the Jonathan Edwards Professor of American Religious History at Yale University and the author of The New England Soul. He has received an NEH Research Fellowship and a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, among other awards. Currently the editor of the twenty-seven volume series of The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Professor Stout has coedited the seventeen-volume series Religion and American Life designed for public schools.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Pt. I Preparation : patriots all : November 1860 to July 1861
Pt. II Romanticization : the making of heroes : July 1861 to March 1862
Pt. III Descent : hard war, spilled blood : April 1862 to October 1862
Pt. IV Justification : the emancipation war : October 1862 to May 1863
Pt. V Transformation : hearts invested : May 1863 to April 1864
Pt. VI Proportion : the soldiers' total war : May 1864 to August 1864
Pt. VII Discrimination : a civilian war : August 1864 to February 1865
Pt. VIII Reconciliation : making an end to build a future
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 – 8 of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2007

    One of the best

    I really liked the book. It is a sweeping review of the intellectual and physical tides that the civil war evolved from and swam in for four years of war. Very balanced. I particulary enjoyed the information on art and songs of the war. His epilogue is well put together. Some really good quotes to use with students as well. War is such a tragedy - even if wars can be good wars and accompish much like this one did.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2006

    Absolutely Remarkable

    Stout's analysis of the Civil War is nothing less than remarkable. He engages the reader in both analysis and assessment of the causality, morality, and justness of the Civil War. This book is an abolute must read. Don't let the length fool you, once I picked this book up I could not put it down. As a Grad student in History, this was possibly one of the best books I've read in years, comparable to James McPherson and other great historians. Stout has done a magnificent job!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2006

    Simply Awesome

    This is the book all Civil War buffs have been waiting for. Simply captivating. You need to read it. Stout does a fabulous job of putting forth a new look at an old story.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2012

    Less than perfect

    Stout seems to think that an inability to keep casulty lists low was immoral and that leaders should have simply given up the fight because of this. He does little to explain why most leaders accepted high casulties and war on civilian morale in order to achieve their war goals. Numerous errors from the trivial to the most important. Only his examination of the clergy's view of the war his truly worth while.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 – 8 of 7 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)