Customer Reviews


6 Reviews
5 star:
 (5)
4 star:
 (1)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 
Most Helpful First | Newest First

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Gathering Storm..., November 12, 2011
This review is from: The Coming Fury (The Centennial History of the Civil War, Vol. 1) (Hardcover)
"The Coming Fury" is volume one of Bruce Catton's superb Centennial History of the Civil War, first published in 1961 and still highly readable all these many years later. Bruce Catton, a journalist by trade, grew up with Civil veterans and was, with Shelby Foote, the premier Civil War historian of his day. Catton was a master of the narrative style of history, weaving together vignettes of people and events into a sweeping look at an epic event in American history.

Catton opens with the South Carolina succession convention in April 1860, before backtracking into the roots of the conflict in American history. He deftly intertwins the lives of Jefferson Davis and Abraham Lincoln with the chronology of the pending fight over Fort Sumpter in Charlestown Harbor, explaining how a young nation couldn't figure out a way to avoid a war over slavery. He closes with the First Battle of Bull Run and the death of hope for an early end to the conflict.

Catton's narrative is now somewhat dated with respect to the details of his scholarship, but more recent works generally fail to capture, in Catton's vivid style, the flow of events leading to the Civil War. "THe Coming Fury" is very highly recommended, even in used condition.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Good book, but slow start to the series, June 26, 2014
This review is from: The Coming Fury (The Centennial History of the Civil War, Vol. 1) (Hardcover)
I started reading Catton's Centennial History of the Civil War after finishing Shelby Foote's trilogy. Many have raved about Catton's narrative style, calling him a poet or master of prose. While I do find much of his book quite readable, I don't find that his narrative voice is better than Foote's. In fact, I struggled with the first couple chapters of this book. Beginning with the primaries of the 1860 election, this book has a slow start. When Catton finally moves into the final days of Buchanan's administration and the start of Lincoln's, the book becomes much more readable. Having since started the second book of this series, I am happy to find that it is much more readable. While I appreciated the content of this book and find it a very important history, a three-volume history of the Civil War is daunting to most readers, so Catton should have done better to hook the reader in the first chapter.

This book is an in-depth look at the lead-up to the war, from the election of 1860 through the battles at Fort Sumter and Bull Run. While Foote's history is an almost purely military history of the war, Catton takes a wider view, focusing heavily on the political events and factors that led to war.

While I do recommend this book, those with a limited knowledge of the Civil War might be better off starting with James McPherson's Battle Cry of Freedom.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars How does one become a buff?, May 31, 2014
By 
Scrapple8 (Brooklyn, NY) - See all my reviews
In his second inaugural speech, President Abraham Lincoln outlined the cause of the Civil War, 'Both parties deprecated war; but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish. And the war came.' Furthermore, Lincoln described the roots of the Civil War in his first inaugural speech, 'One section of our country believes slavery is right, and ought to be extended, while the other believes it is wrong, and ought not to be extended.' Bruce Catton examined the detail behind those statements in Volume One in the American Civil War Trilogy, 'The Coming Fury.'

Volume One began with the political conventions of 1860, claiming that the Democrats threw the national election to the Republican Party when they split in Charleston. A few months later the split was confirmed in Baltimore with the nomination of Stephen Douglas by the northern Democrats, and John Breckenridge by the Southern Democrats. The Democrats had split before – most notably in 1848 – but the Presidency went to a Louisiana slaveholder in 1848, not a black Republican.

Catton missed an opportunity to gauge the sentiment of voters through the election results of 1860. By focusing on the 42% of voters that opted for compromise candidates (Douglas and Bell), Catton overlooked that 58% of the voters preferred Lincoln and Breckenridge. In other words, a majority of people cast their votes against compromise.

Catton explained that many of the so-called Unionists that voted for Bell or Douglas in the South were not really committed to their positions. They were swept up in the sentiment of secession, particularly those in the border states who seceded after the South attacked Fort Sumter. Is there any doubt that war was the outcome when two sides with incompatible views refused to compromise?

After South Carolina seceded, the conflict ceased to be one about slavery and became a referendum on the compact theory used by the South to justify secession. As late as August, 1862 – in a famous letter to Horace Greeley – Lincoln wrote, 'My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and not either to save or to destroy slavery.' Many of the early enlistments for the Union army joined to 'Save the Union.' Abolitionists who joined the northern army for their cause, such as Uriah Parmelee, were disillusioned during their first year of fighting. Southerners were just as eager to raise their arms to combat perceived tyranny. Shelby Foote said in the Ken Burns Civil War series that a captured Confederate soldier, when asked why he fought, would answer, 'because you're down here.'

The slaves never forgot that the struggle was about slavery. The Confederate Army requisitioned slaves from planters to support their army. Slaves dug fortifications, served as cooks, and performed other support services. Slaves also escaped and presented themselves at Union lines asking for sanctuary. Ben Butler, with his army on the eastern peninsula of Virginia, came up with the idea of keeping the slaves as 'contraband of war.' Catton discusses this interesting philosophy in Chapter Five, which was ultimately sanctioned, and later enabled Lincoln to declare the Emancipation Proclamation, making the war also about slavery, and reinvigorating the wills of soldiers such as Uriah Parmelee.

Chapter Five describes the struggle in the border states. Lincoln skirted the constitution in Maryland – he suspended habeas corpus and declared martial law, especially to control secessionist sentiment around Baltimore. William Marvel, in his book Mr. Lincoln Goes to War, claimed Lincoln's blunders in subverting the constitution made things worse and aided the second wave of secession. Several Maryland regiments added much needed fighting force to the Confederate army at Bull Run. Strong armed tactics in Missouri made that state a battleground throughout the war, and caused Sterling Price to cast his lot with the Confederacy. Marvel's case was compelling, but less so after reading the spin on the events in the border states by Catton.

Catton winds up Volume One with the first battle of Bull Run. This was the battle that gave Confederate general Thomas J. Jackson his nickname 'Stonewall.' Much like Charleston residents watched General PGT Beauregard build up for the eventual showdown with the union fort at Fort Sumter, Washington residents took a trip to the country to watch their boys whip the rebels at Bull Run. The Confederate citizens got the better of that bargain.

Many of the famous names of the Civil War make their first, and sometimes only appearance, in 1861. We may never know whether Edmund Ruffin fired the first shot at Fort Sumter, but the confirmed secessionist with long white hair makes such a compelling story that you just have to believe it. Ruffin also served at Bull Run. Elmer Ellsworth had a highly publicized funeral as the first union solider to die in battle at Arlington. George Briton McClelland won the Philippi Races and became the great hope of the Union.

On an episode of the Seinfeld show, George Costanza asked how one becomes a Civil War buff. Start with the Ken Burn's Civil War series if you think you might want to be a Civil War buff. If you're still interested, then read this three volume series by Catton. You will notice that Ken Burns ends his presentation of 1861 the same way that Catton concludes Volume 1: with a letter from Sullivan Bullou to his wife Sara. Catton referred to the soldier as Sullivan Ballen, but don't let that mistake steer you away from this great series.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars A must-buy for the Civil War enthusiast, March 19, 2014
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Coming Fury (The Centennial History of the Civil War, Vol. 1) (Hardcover)
We have the entire collection of Civil War history books by Bruce Catton, who is by far the best writer on this subject that we have found. Nothing dry about his narratives; he truly brings all the key players to life in a way that is rarely accomplished. I wholeheartedly recommend this book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterwork -- volume 1, September 4, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Coming Fury (The Centennial History of the Civil War, Vol. 1) (Hardcover)
The first volume of Bruce Catton's peerless 3-book survey. A gripping account of the run up to the war which I re-read with pleasure 45 years after first discovering Catton's genius.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Out of print book order, September 13, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Unable to find a new copy of "The Coming Fury" in paperback to complete a trilogy for my husband, I ordered a used one from Amazon. Since it was a gift, I was very concerned about quality. No need to fear. The book arrived VERY promptly and was in "Very Good" condition - as advertised.

This experience has encouraged me to order used books at a future time.

Thank you Amazon and bookseller for meeting and exceeding all my expectations. My husband was delighted and dived right in.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

The Coming Fury (The Centennial History of the Civil War, Vol. 1)
Used & New from: $0.60
Add to wishlist See buying options
Search these reviews only
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.