More than 140 years ago, Mark Twain observed that the Civil War had "uprooted institutions that were centuries old, changed the politics of a people, transformed the social life of half the country, and wrought so profoundly upon the entire national character that the influence cannot be measured short of two or three generations". In fact five generations have passed, and Americans are still trying to measure the influence of the immense fratricidal conflict that nearly tore the nation apart.
In The War that Forged a Nation, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian James M. McPherson considers why the Civil War remains so deeply embedded in our national psyche and identity. The drama and tragedy of the war, from its scope and size - an estimated death toll of 750,000, far more than the rest of the country's wars combined - to the nearly mythical individuals involved - Abraham Lincoln, Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson - help explain why the Civil War remains a topic of interest. But the legacy of the war extends far beyond historical interest or scholarly attention.
McPherson ultimately proves the impossibility of understanding the issues of our own time unless we first understand their roots in the era of the Civil War. From racial inequality and conflict between the North and South to questions of state sovereignty or the role of government in social change - these issues, McPherson shows, are as salient and controversial today as they were in the 1860s.
Thoughtful, provocative, and authoritative, The War That Forged a Nation looks anew at the reasons America's Civil War has remained a subject of intense interest for the past century and a half and affirms the enduring relevance of the conflict for America today.
©2015 James McPherson (P)2015 Audible, Inc.
As an amateur historian and Civil War buff, I'v read enough books on the subject that material can become repetitive. That is to say, we're only talking about 4 years here so there is always a fear of regurgitation to some extent. There has to be. Under this title, i didn't have that sense. Though I have heard a few of the anecdotes, I was pleasantly surprised with how it was presented and how each chapter, though not building on previous chapters, melds together nicely, and makes for an excellent read!
James McPherson is no stranger to the subject which makes me wonder how many quotes I've read in other books came from these works? We all know how the war ends, who the villains are, who the poor generalship originates from and how the Great Emancipator succumbs to a radical. But the way the information is provided is refreshing in comparison to several other works I've read.
And Grover Gardner does and excellent job too! His voiced inflection is perfect and his delivery is effortless which has me gravitating towards most of his narrations. This is a pretty darn good book and well worth your time. You will not be bored in the least.
The narrator. Grover Gardner is one of the best narrators.
While I expected more from the foremost Civil War historian, this is still a good book. It is more of an overview of the war. I would have liked more in depth discussion but was not disappointed.
Audible has changed my life! Dry , itchy eyes were destroying one of my greatest pleasures - reading. Now I am experiencing books again!
I don't think anyone doubts the credentials James McPherson brings to any study of the American Civil War. After plowing through (I am not a buff!) a couple of his (admittedly worthwhile) longer works, I frankly wondered what he still had to say.
The appeal of this collection of essays is not particularly in its new or exhaustive material - it's in the organization of the presentation. Sometimes he's answering critics or those with whose conclusions he disagrees. Some essays are relegated to updating his previous works - it is wonderful that he takes his arguments into the 21st century. And a couple simply reconfirm and refine his evaluation of the splendid Abraham Lincoln as man, as commander in chief, as President.
What all these writings do is confirm McPherson's clear, intelligent, and accomplished writing skills. While I cannot speak for dedicated and much-better informed Civil War historians and enthusiasts, I would especially recommend this book to those who have never had the opportunity or inclination to read McPherson's longer works on the subject. The parts of this book can be appreciated in pieces (or even out of order) and make for an excellent, educational listen.
Grover Gardner is perfect as narrator. His clear, precise manner and distinctive voice very much complement and enhance the material.
McPherson is right: this part of our history still matters and affects us all in ways we rarely consider or recognize and often forget. "The War that Forged a Nation" serves as a valuable reminder.
This book is simply a summary of main ideas from his much better book: Battle Cry of Freedom...Read That!
Story: The book delivers on the supporting title - Why the Civil War Still Matters. The author explores and expounds on the trends before and during the American Civil War that still echoes up today. It is worth the read or listening.
Reader: Good and an interesting voice.
"McPherson is comprehensive and insightful as always. His portrait of Lincoln is both fresh and objective."
McPherson is comprehensive and insightful as always. His portrait of Lincoln is fresh and objective.
Narration excellent. Much information new to me about the war itself. All new to me about reconstruction and the impact that does still have its effect today. The new round of "voting restriction laws " is a replay of reconstruction times.
excellent multi faceted perspective of the war that truly defines this nation and each of us as both citizen and individual
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