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Publisher's Summary

The Civil War posed a critical test of the young nation's character, endurance, and will to survive. Coming only two generations after the nation's founding, the secession of Southern states challenged the very existence of the United States. "America's most monumental drama and morality tale" comes alive in this brilliant collection from America's leading history magazine, as selected by its current editor in chief, Edwin S. Grosvenor.

©2015 American Heritage (P)2017 Tantor

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An idiosyncratic anthology

As with most anthologies, some entries were more interesting than others. Though I’m no US Civil War scholar, I’ve read a fair amount on the subject. While I was familiar with most of the people and events discussed here, I learned quite a bit.

HB Stowe and John Brown were fleshed out, and the picture painted of Lincoln’s death was especially poignant. The essay on RE Lee left me puzzled. By its early focus on the creation of the Lee “mythology”, I was rather prepared to see some myths smashed, but to the contrary, it seemed to be conventional Lee biography. The USS Merrimack, a fascinating subject, was made less so by what felt like some excruciating details about the designer, the bidding, etc.

Be warned: the narrator practices Up Speak, ending many phrases and sentences with a rise in tone, suggesting a question. This might be excusable in a dialog-heavy novel, but it destroys the credibility of the nonfiction narrator.