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American Heritage Paperback – October 30, 2001

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Editorial Reviews Review

Ask Civil War diehards when they first fell in love with the War Between the States and there's a good chance you'll hear about one of the early editions of this book, which was originally published on the war's centennial. Thoroughly updated by the remarkable James M. McPherson to take advantage of the latest scholarship, this classic retains all of the wonderful features Bruce Catton originally included. And then there are the pictures--they are some of the most striking battlefield visuals available. The American Heritage New History of the Civil War makes a great gift for young people interested (or potentially interested) in history, or good reading for folks who want an overview of how the North and South fought across five Aprils. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

With these two books, American Heritage continues its tradition of captivating historical storytelling through readable narratives and hundreds of illustrations of contemporary paintings, photographs, and maps many in color. The New History of the Civil War is a reissue of the second edition, published by Viking in 1996, which updated the highly acclaimed classic The American Heritage Picture History of the Civil War (1960). Edited by McPherson (George Henry Davis Professor of American History, Princeton), it retains the style of the late Catton, known for award-winning histories that engage readers in understanding why Northerners and Southerners became passionately embroiled in America's deadliest war. What Catton did for the war generally, Symonds (history, U.S. Naval Academy) does for the Battle of Gettysburg, a monumental clash that marked the turning point of the war. Symonds focuses his narrative on the drama of battle, which lasted for three long days. Civil War aficionados and the curious will enjoy both books. Recommended for public and high school libraries, though libraries facing tight book budgets should stick with the New History of the Civil War for its panoramic coverage of the Civil War. Charles L. Lumpkins, Pennsylvania State Univ., State Coll.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: American Heritage
  • Paperback: 640 pages
  • Publisher: I Books (October 30, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743434803
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743434805
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 1.6 x 10.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,299,395 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Ian Muldoon on July 20, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
With a pitiful knowledge of the Civil War based on various movies featuring the likes of Randolph Scott and Clark Gable, I was interested in reading an historical text about this defining American event. I was lucky in choosing this lavish volume to do so. With a lucid narrative by the late Bruce Catton as its centre, this Heritage volume has the added advantage of illuminating that text with art (Winslow Homer et al),photos,drawings, maps, cartoons, bills, newspapers, and illustrations of significant battles which are a model of their kind. Whilst the art tends to romanticise (cf the evocative NIGHT BIVOUAC OF THE SEVENTH REGIMENT NEW YORK AT ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, VIRGINIA by Sanford Robinson Gifford) the photos reveal the horror and pity of the event and are stunning in their power. Added to this are,from time to time, the words of poet Walt Whitman. Whilst some historical facts may appear confusing - on p286 the illustrated map tells us that Stonewall Jackson was "fatally wounded" by one of his own pickets; on p 282 Stonewall Jackson is "mortally wounded (2May), shot down by his own troops in the confused fighting"; and on p 289 (10 May) Stonewall Jackson dies of pneumonia, albeit, weakened by wounds. Be that as it may, many of the details provided by the works supplementing the central text are fascinating in allowing the reader to realise the effects of war on the the populace and the consequences this must have had on the psyche of generations to come.
Item: WOMEN of the South ran out of PINS and walked around with downcast eyes looking for PINS. Thorns were gathered and dried to use as PINS. Item: CONSCRIPTION: In the South conscription was well implemented, in the North it was a DISGRACE.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By David E. Levine on July 24, 1999
Format: Hardcover
An important caveat is that my recently purchased volume is the prior edition of this wonderful book. Changes in the newer edition editied by McPherson, may be for the better or for the worse. With this disclaimer, I rate this beautifully illustrated oversized book very highly. Catton's prose, in this volume, is so elegant yet captivating that I went out and bought his Army of the Potomac trilogy. The illustrations are fascinating. Because the volume is broken down into small sections, it is very managable to read despite sheer size of the book. In short bursts, Catton provides many great insights. For example, he brilliantly captures the economic disparity between the North and South in just a few pages. This is a wonderful introduction to the writings of perhaps the greatest Civil War historian of them all.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By George Kairinos on July 26, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Written by the most renowned author on the Civil War namely Bruce Catton and edited by pulitzer prize winning author Prof. McPherson, there was no doubting that the written portion of this historical treatment of the ACW would be excellent. However the graphical component is just as stunning with superb photographs, paintings and sketchings. If you're interested in a one all encompassing volume on the ACW then this is it. Unfortunately I did not receive the promised CD with the order but of course one cannot fault the book for that. Of course it is nowhere as detailed as Shelby Foote's three volume (3000 page) treatment of the subject but then again Foote's work is a narrative and doesn't include pictures. The best bet is to get them won't regret it!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 10, 1999
Format: Hardcover
A real quality one volume stab at the definitive Civil War book for the general reader. The narrative pulls you on through the war in breathtaking style. The illustrations are superb (though my copy had bad watercolour staining on several pages). I would have liked additional battle schematics to follow each of the major battles and a larger scale series of campaign maps. I had to resort to a 1992 road atlas to find some of the places!! Excellent value. Four stars. Stewart Hawkins. Auckland, NZ
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ken Roberts VINE VOICE on May 22, 2007
Format: Paperback
I don't know what I like better - the concise written history of the Civil War or the truly outstanding and amazing photographs with the fine captions about each. Either way, this is quite the lively book - not overbearing, which is great for the novice. And there are enough treats in this book to keep an expert happy.
I think my favorite part of this volume are the colorful birds eye view drawings of the major battlefields, complete with the blue and gray lined up for battle. It puts Gettysburg or Antietam, for example, into perspective.
I also enjoy the text, which I guess is considered ancient now as it was written nearly 50 years ago, because it gives a more historical feel rather than the modern day politically correct impression that has shown up in numerous other books I have purchased.
The text alone is worth the money.
The photographs alone are worth the money.
Two great reasons for the price of one to purchase The American Heritage New History of the Civil War.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Chef Scott VINE VOICE on May 7, 2000
Format: Hardcover
The high level of detail mirrored with beautiful photos, maps and stories fills the volume with incredible amounts of material relating to the Civil War. It flows well and gives the reader an excellent source for research or simply to glance over key area of interest involving all aspects of the conflict.
True, the lesser known generals and battles are not discussed at length but if they were it would require at least three more volumes this size to do them justice. Use the Official Records to further advance your knowledge on minor battles and the commanders of the day.
This book is an excellent addition to the Historians bookshelf and one in which I'm sure will get constant use.
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