A World on Fire: An Epic History of Two Nations Divided

A World on Fire: An Epic History of Two Nations Divided

4.2 30
by Amanda Foreman
     
 

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ISBN-13:
9781846142048
Publisher:
Allen Lane
Publication date:
11/28/2010

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A World on Fire: Britain's Crucial Role in the American Civil War 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 30 reviews.
lrtbooks More than 1 year ago
I can honestly say that this may one of the best non-fiction reads of this year (I read the UK edition, published lat last year). The author ties together national relations between the U.S. and the UK during the Civil War, mixes in mini-bios of all of the major characters (both political and military), and discusses many of the major battles. She does this effortlessly, and despite her huge cast of characters she juggles everything flawlessly. This book is a true winner in every sense of the word. A Herculean effort to get through because of its length, but well worth the effort: superb narrative history, and without a doubt one of the best books I've ever read on the Civil War.
James_Durney More than 1 year ago
As America descends into civil war, England is the world's super power. The sun never sets on the British Empire. Her navy rules the waves and her merchant fleet carries most of the world's goods. England's industries can supply everything a modern nation needs to fight a war or enjoy peace. London is the center of the political world and the heart of the empire. England stands alone. France is still recovering from the French Revolution and the Napoleonic wars with an uncertain political atmosphere. Germany is not a unified nation; Prussia is the strongest state there. Italy is in the process of becoming a unified state. Russia is huge but backward, largely occupied with expanding toward the East. China is weak and often occupied by European powers. Japan is starting to become a power but not a player on the world stage. London's actions can change the course of the American Civil War. Her position is as vital to both sides as winning battles. This book looks at the political contest in London, Paris and Washington between the North and the South during the Civil War. Told largely from England's perspective, the book is an English import; it gives Americans a very different view of events. This perspective brings a new set of considerations into force when trying to answer questions about England's actions. We open with a detailed look at relations between England and America. They are not close allies having fought two wars in less than 90 years. The large Irish American population is anti-English and vocal about it. Bashing England is a popular political standard in many areas, helping to elect more than one Congressman. England sees America as a source of raw materials, a market for finished goods and a potential rival. American designs on Canada are always a sour point. There are constant border questions cased by westward expansion, a few have become serious. England took the lead in suppressing the trans-Atlantic slave trade and slavery is illegal in the Empire. However, her mills depend on cotton picked by slaves in America. This is a complex and detailed history. The author does an excellent job of explaining the background and legal aspects of each event. This makes it easier to follow the English position and understand their actions. The book covers the first three years of the war in detail. This is when the possibility of intervention was very real. The last year of the war is covered but in less detail as questions are settled. Each Confederate move, American counter move and English reaction makes for a lively history. This is a battle as real as any fought in America and deadly serious. Readers that have read about this from the American perspective need to prepare for a very different look at Seward and Adams. England saw a very different person than we did. Of great interest are how long news takes and the result of this delay. In the Fall of 1862, this is a critical item and almost caused real problems. We know England did not recognize the Confederate States of America. How close they came to doing something and how much help English businessmen provided makes an engrossing read.
willyvan More than 1 year ago
This is a superb study of US-British relations during the American civil war (1861-65). Britain was officially neutral; the British government never recognised the Confederate government, yet awarded it belligerent status. The British working class backed Abraham Lincoln, the North and the Union, against the slaveholders of the Confederate South. Yet the Liberal government allowed Britain's possessions Bermuda and the Bahamas to become the chief supply depots for the South. Royal Navy Reserve officers were involved in running the North's blockade, shipping arms to the Confederacy. The City of London, then as now the main source of reaction across the world, backed the South. The Times, finance capital's mouthpiece, also did all that it could to promote the cause of the slave-owners. Leslie Stephen, father of Virginia Woolf, wrote a brilliant exposé of its biased reporting (The Times and the American civil war, 1865).
fred5962 More than 1 year ago
Ms. Forman had written a book about the royals during the eighteenth century, so I was a little unsure of this book about the American Civil War. However, I read a review in the Chattanooga TimesFreePress, which recommended this book for serious readers. It's a large work, but I think you will find the personal notes, gleaned from letters and correspondence, to be compelling to understanding the reasons and the strategies of the war.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Foreman missed the mark on this book.  Minimal discussion of the causes of the ACW and the British working class response.  Critical when you consider that only 2% of British citizens could vote.  Also, minimal discussion of the Crimean War, and the 2nd Opium War.  This book did not provide any insight into a world on fire.
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This turne out to be a great book on civil war
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Wonderfully written book.
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the book was very well written and informative. I got a good idea of the American Civil war from the British point of view. the only problem that I had was that having a non Nook book made it impossible to put the novel on my eBook.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book from beginning to end, I recommend this book to anyone who love to learn about the civil war or just enjoy a good book.
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