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The Coming Fury (American Civil War Trilogy, Vol. 1) Paperback – December 31, 2001

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Product Details

  • Series: Phoenix Press (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 568 pages
  • Publisher: Phoenix; New edition edition (December 31, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1842122924
  • ISBN-13: 978-1842122921
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 1.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,323,582 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Released in 1961 and 1963, respectively, these are the first two volumes in Catton's exhaustive trilogy on the Civil War. Fury traces the events that led to war during the 12 months prior to actual combat. Sword dissects the combatants reassessment of their positions and strategies during early skirmishes.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Bruce Catton was born in 1899. As a child living in a small town in Michigan, Catton was stimulated by the reminiscences of the Civil War that he heard from local veterans. His education at Oberlin College, Ohio, was interrupted by two years of naval service in World War I and was subsequently abandoned for a career in journalism. While he was employed as a reporter for the Boston American, the Cleveland News, and the Cleveland Plain Dealer (1920-26), Catton continued his lifelong study of the Civil War period. He subsequently worked for the Newspaper Enterprise Service (1926-41) and for the U.S. War Production Board. In 1954 he became a member of the staff of American Heritage magazine, and from 1959 he served as its senior editor. A commission to write a Centennial History of the Civil War evolved into Catton's celebrated trilogy on the Army of the Potomac. Catton's brilliance as a historian lay in his ability to bring to historical narrative the immediacy of reportage. He died in 1978.

Customer Reviews

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Catton's narrative makes this highly recommended for any one interested in the civil war.
Catton painstakingly provides us with this political background leading up to the war, but in a very readable manner.
Cynthia K. Robertson
His writing style is an engaging, comforting read that was informative and well structured.
Ed Robbins

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 33 people found the following review helpful By James Gallen VINE VOICE on February 1, 2002
Format: Paperback
"The Coming Fury" is a powerful rendition of the sad tale of the disintegration of the Union from the political maneuvers of 1860 to the aftermath of the First Battle of Bull Run.
In this, the first of the Catton trilogy, we are show how the breakdown of the spirit of compromise, which had held together a house divided for four score and four years, contributed to the conflagration to follow.
The major theme of this book is that nothing was inevitable about the lines on which the Union would fracture. The lines of division resulted from a multitude of decisions made by the actors in this national tragedy.
For many with only a superficial knowledge, history is the story of conflict between right and wrong, heroes and villains. When I read history I enjoy books which permit us to see the stories and characters with all their triumphs and failures, virtues and faults. "The Coming Fury" ranks high on the list of such books.
The first casualty of the failure of compromise was the Great Democracy, the Democratic Party, which split into its Northern and Southern wings in 1860, making the election of Abraham Lincoln inevitable that fall.
The election of Lincoln convinced many southerners that the Union was no longer provided a suitable home for them. This book tells the story of how the breakup occurred.
We see James Buchanan, trapped by a cabinet which was as divided as the nation, presiding over the rejection of the Constitution and the dissolution of the Union which he was sworn to preserve and protect and who, incredibly, retired in the belief that he had done a good job under the circumstances.
We see Abraham Lincoln, whose eloquence and political magic are the stuff of legends, stumble his way into Civil War.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Richard M. Affleck on September 24, 2002
Format: Paperback
Jim Gallen has, in an earlier review, summed up quite well the content of Catton's first volume in his centennial history of the Civil War. What I will say is that having read this book, and the two that follow, more than 30 years ago, and having read numerous works on the Civil War since then, I keep coming back to these three volumes. Why? Because more than any other writer on the Civil War (Shelby Foote included) Bruce Catton has produced a book that is almost poetic in its style. His prose makes the people who fought the war or who were otherwise affected by it come alive. From the very first pages of The Coming Fury he gives us a sense of forboding, for the tragedy, the senselessness, and the inevitibility of what lay just down the road for the celebrants at the Republican and Democratic conventions of 1860. Catton is one of the first, I think, to truely take advantage of the letters and diaries of soldiers, sailors, and civilians, and not just official unit histories and canned secondary accounts. If more recent historians have surpassed Catton in digging up details of virtually every aspect of the Civil War, none can touch him in the poetic sweep of his narrative. For anyone interested in a good introduction to our most costly war, Catton is the one to start with.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By William C Lyles on September 26, 2005
Format: Paperback
For anyone, like I once was, who needs an education on the causes of the Civil War, this book is indespensable. Growing up in the South, I was taught in public schools that slavery had very little to do with the Civil War. Catton not only obliterates this theory, he goes in to much detail about the various conflicts and rivalries (including slavery) which caused an unbridgeable chasm between North and South in the decade leading up to the firing upon Fort Sumter in April, 1861. He clearly demonstrates why these differences in philosophy would erupt into war, which in retrospect was probably the only way America could ever be united in our collective belief system, which we now take for granted. I would recommend this book (and Catton's entire Civil War Trilogy series for that matter) to both casual reader and Civil War buff alike. In fact, it should be required reading for ALL americans.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By HistoryGradStudent on February 7, 2010
Format: Paperback
The civil war era has many books that are "general" histories of this period. While I enjoy Shelby Foote's three volume work, I am still a fan of Bruce Catton. His three volume CW works are still fresh today as they were thirty plus years ago.

This first volume begins in 1860 at the Democratic National Convention in South Carolina. It begins to show just how split the country was on the issue of slavery, and the political party that had dominated since Thomas Jefferson became its leader. The South's "fire-eaters" would not nominate Stephen Douglas, even if it meant the election of the "black Republican" Abraham Lincoln.

Catton does a wonderful job with words of bringing out the emotions of the era leading to the Civil War. His emphasis to focus on the "causes" of the civil war from all perspectives-including the issue of slavery, the "blundering generation" theory, and the sectional crises interpretation, as well as others that historians to this day still disagree on. In short, the genius of Catton is that he allows you to consider all the different theories to the causes of the war. It is truly an objective presentation of history in a very pro-subjective time we are in.

The middle of the book focuses on the Fort Sumter issue, and how Lincoln and the South dealt with the issue of federal vs. state sovereignty. Catton also clearly articulates why Virginia and Tennessee, as well as Maryland Missouri, and Kentucky did not immediately succeed with the South, or aligned themselves with the North when South Carolina and several sister Southern states left the Union.

The book ends with the First Battle of Bull Run (Manassas). Here, Catton completely understands the American people.
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