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Things might have been rather different, too. "What emerges from the panorama of April 1865 is that the whole of our national history could have been altered but for a few decisions, a quirk of fate, a sudden shift in luck." When Lee abandoned Richmond, for instance, his soldiers rendezvoused at a nearby town called Amelia Court House. There, the general expected to find boxcars full of food for his hungry troops. But "a mere administrative mix-up" left his army empty-handed and may have limited Lee's options in the days to come. Or what if Lee had decided not to surrender at all, but to turn his resourceful army into an outfit of guerrilla fighters who would harass federal officials? National reconciliation might have become impossible as the whole South turned into a region plagued with violence and terrorism. For the Union, "there would be no real rest, no real respite, no true amity, nor, for that matter, any real sense of victory--only an amorphous state of neither war nor peace, raging like a low-level fever." One of Lee's officers actually proposed this scenario to his commander in those final hours; America is fortunate Lee didn't choose this path.
Winik is an exceptionally good storyteller. April 1865 is full of memorable images and you-are-there writing. Readers will come away with a new appreciation for that momentous month and a sharpened understanding of why and how the Civil War was fought. Let it be said plainly: April 1865 is a magnificent work, surely the best book on the Civil War to be published in some time. --John J. Miller --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
I enjoyed the details of the Army of Northern Virginia's last days. My ggggrandfather was there. And I enjoyed learning that Lee helped heal a Nation. Read morePublished 14 days ago by Garland L Watlington
Amazingly detailed account of the end of the war and great background info on all the major players. Terrific read.Published 24 days ago by Tom
This is an unusual topic on a subject that appeals to anyone who believes in states rights. I think the author does an excellent job.Published 1 month ago by bud weber
I was unimpressed with Winik's tendency to go off topic. I'm not sure why we need a mini-biography of Thomas Jefferson to start a book about April 1865. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Liberty and Union
I learned this about the civil war I did not know before. Well written.Published 4 months ago by gadfly
Excellent history based on extensive research, but the book is marred severely by shifts into present tense which ruin the sense of history in the interests evidently of trying to... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Donald J. Richardson
One of the best Civil War books ever written. Next April marks the 150th anniversary of these events.
A must read for Civil War buffs