McPherson takes us to a place few histories go - to the grit and venom that arose between 1840 and 1860. The tensions and bifurcation between North and South are explained in a way that I can see the same mind-set at work in 21st Century politics.
This book explores all the vectors that led to, carried us through, and brought us out of a conflict of minds, politics, and spirit.
Not in this series
Everyone else seems to believe that this is the book to read on the American Civil War. However, I found it difficult to wade through. Perhaps, if I wanted to study the war, intently....
If my friend was looking for detail about the pre-civil war era, it is a must read
McPherson develops a balanced understanding about the diversity of facts and passions on both side of the conflict
I enjoyed it enough to move on to the next volume.
This is one book that Audible cut into two parts so it could charge more. Not fair.
Steve (Walnut Creek, CA, USA)
I really enjoyed this book. As a kid, growing up in California, you get the impression that the primary cause of the war was whether or not slavery would be permitted in the South.
In college, as I developed a healthy cynicism, I concluded that it was essentially about whether or not states would be allowed to secede, and that slavery didn't have much to do with it.
In truth, it was a key issue. The war wouldn't have happened without it, nor would it have happened without Southern pride, or a decay over time in Southern influence due to the addition of more free states than slave states, and population growth in the North being more rapid, resulting in more representatives in Congress.
I didn't know any of this pre-war detail: attempts to make a slave zone around the Carribean, lots of effort toward make Kansas a slave state, etc.
The author frequently lists things said by both sides regarding an issue, then states whether or not there is enough objective evidence to support either claim. Like most political issues, there's truth and deception to both sides.
Narrator is fine.
McPherson's "Battle Cry of Freedom" is the one book on the Civil War that I would recommend as we approach the 150th Anniversary of the fall of Fort Sumter. Vol. 1 is objective and complete in its narrative of the events leading up to the Civil War, and its examination of the r??le of slavery in the southern psyche is a must-read for anyone who truly wants to understand why this war occurred.
The narrator of the audio version of the book is acceptable.
Well researched with many interesting and important facts. Well read also. Tragically flawed in several respects. Almost all of the economic analysis is wrong. Mr. McPherson seems to rely on socialist (or heavily left-leaning) economic-political theory, even though he refers to Adam Smiths "Wealth of Nations". Which he either hasn't read, or doesn't understand. Also, the book is very biased in favor of the North. I prefer my history straight, without the base alloy of self-righteous hipocracy (i.e. the pretense of objectivity). As another reviewer suggested, if you want a real history of the Civil War, one that presents both Northern and Southern perspectives, read Shelby Foote, which is in a different league. If you want a modern liberal interpretation, this one is well written and researched.