The Civil War (Magill Book Reviews)
In March, 1865, hardly a month from the end of the Civil War and his own death, Abraham Lincoln ended his brief review of the war’s causes in his second inaugural address with the simple, hammerstroke words, “And the war came.”
The American Civil War came, and in many ways it has never ended. It engages our greatest historians, most talented novelists, and skilled filmmakers. Today, our Civil War enjoys ourultimate approval: It can be the basis of popular television miniseries.
To help explain this passionate intensity, noted Civil War historian Stephen Sears has edited a remarkable and moving book,THE CIVIL WAR: A TREASURY OF ART AND LITERATURE. Throughout this oversized volume, in powerful words and eloquent pictures, are the stories of the men who fought and the women who endured this wrenching transformation that created the American nation. This book is a record of their intricate tapestry, woven of blue and grey, black and white.
The famous are here: Frederick Douglas expressing the eloquent voice of an enslaved but unbowed people; Mary Chestnut recording the onset of war and the slow grind of defeat; William Faulkner, explaining how for every Southern boy, “it’s still not yet two o’clock on that July afternoon in 1863.”
They are joined, even surpassed, by the everyday voices: aConfederate enlisted man recounting how his squad traded supplies with Yankees across the river; a newspaper editor...
(The entire section is 356 words.)
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