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Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Complete, matched 5 volume set. NOTE: Large initials in marker inside front cover of each volume. Clean pages, sturdy hinges, very little wear.
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Encyclopedia of the American Civil War [5 volumes]: A Political, Social, and Military History Hardcover – December 13, 2000

ISBN-13: 978-1576070666 ISBN-10: 1576070662 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 2733 pages
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO; 1 edition (December 13, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1576070662
  • ISBN-13: 978-1576070666
  • Product Dimensions: 4 x 10.8 x 11.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 19.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,349,662 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up-In his foreword to this set, noted historian James M. McPherson characterizes this well-written encyclopedia as "the best" work of reference currently available on the Civil War. Many readers will concur. The editors and more than 250 distinguished contributors present some 1600 alphabetically arranged, concise articles on every aspect of the period, supplemented by informative battle maps and many of the most famous period black-and-white photographs in crisp, clear reproductions. Ranging from a few paragraphs to several pages, the entries create a comprehensive and compelling picture of the war. They include not only detailed discussions of the major and minor battles and military life in general, but also the war's effects on society, from government, politics, and technology to journalism, commerce, and home life. The first four volumes contain a wealth of cross-references, easing the way for research. The final volume offers a useful selection of critical primary-source documents, a chronology of the war, an extensive bibliography, and an index to all volumes. An all-together excellent resource for research or general browsing interest.

Starr E. Smith, Fairfax County Public Library, VA

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

After more than 100 years, the Civil War still attracts more public interest than any other event in U.S. history. This fact is reflected in the inordinate number of books, well over 50,000, written about the conflict. ABCCLIO has published the most comprehensive reference work, offering more than 1,600 signed entries, over 300 contributors, more than 500 illustrations and 75 maps, and over 250 primary source documents.The encyclopedia provides in A-Z format information on the war's strategic aims, diplomatic and political maneuvering, key military actions (with descriptions of more than 60 engagements), key participants (civilian and military), and impact on American society and history. Mary Ann Ball Bickerdyke, a Union Army nurse; Matthew Brady, a photographer who accompanied the Union Army in the first main battle; and military leaders such as Ulysses S. Grant, Robert E. Lee, and James Longstreet are just a few of the individuals covered. The encyclopedia not only treats the military aspects of the war but presents full coverage of the politics, literature, art, music, and homefront events. Every conceivable subject--from Chickamauga, Battle of to Harper's Weekly to Gatling gun to Jews-- receives consideration.Entries range from less than one-half page to more than eighteen pages for Atlanta campaign . Each essay is followed by see also references to related entries elsewhere in the set, as well as extensive suggested readings for deeper research on that particular subject. The final volume compiles more than 250 topically arranged documents, including Abraham Lincoln's famous "A house divided against itself cannot stand" speech, excerpts from Frederick Douglass' "My Escape from Slavery" speech, Jefferson Davis' "Proclamation of 1861," the Battle Hymn of the Republic , and more. These primary source materials are an invaluable enhancement to the set.Following the documents, one finds five appendixes. Appendix I lists the Confederate States of America's general officers, followed by its government in appendix II. Appendix III lists the officers of the United States of America, followed by its government in appendix IV. Appendix V^B is a directory of Civil War battlefield sites with addresses, phone numbers, and maps. Following the appendixes is a "Civil War Chronology" showing relationships between military actions and political, diplomatic, and social developments. A brief glossary provides definitions for the researcher unfamiliar with such terms as cashier ("dishonorably discharge an office") and retrograde ("an orderly retreat usually designed to move away from an enemy"). An extensive bibliography lists all the resources referenced throughout the volumes. The index indicates main entries in bold print, while illustrations are identified with italics. The index is detailed and comprehensive. For example, under AfricanAmerican sailors , there are references to individuals who relate to this category, such as Gideon Welles and Francis Shoup. Under Gettysburg , battle of one finds page references not only to information about the battle but also to related people, places, and events. The set is handsomely designed, with numerous period photographs complementing the text.There are some minor criticisms regarding layout, which makes maneuvering the set a bit cumbersome. The index to all volumes can only be found in volume five, which means the researcher has to use two volumes most of the time; a cumulative index in each volume would have made access easier. The index cites only page numbers, leaving the user to guess which volume a page might be in. Neither the bibliographies nor the directory to battle sites makes reference to the copious information that is available through the World Wide Web. However, these are small shortcomings. Encyclopedia of the Amer ican Civil War is the most comprehensive reference work written about its topic, providing both the novice and the expert an opportunity to expand their knowledge of this vital aspect of U.S. history. Recommended for high-school, public, and academic libraries. RBB
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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There is so much information in this book it is ridiculous.
Grant and Lee
I have glanced through this book and now I am ready to dive in and read it cover to cover.
This is an absolutely essential book for anyone with an interest in Civil War scholarship.
M. Van Ert

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Mike Duffy on January 22, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This humongous encyclopedia is easily the best reference I have ever seen on the Civil War. The thing is 2600 pages long, has 1600 entries, and weighs about 7 pounds, and is quite well written and edited. It covers military, political, and social events, and biographies equally. The articles are generally well written but short and introductory rather than exhaustive. Has lots of photos, illustrations and maps (the maps are OK but not spectacular), and a wonderful bibliogaphy section. I can't recommend this book enough. I learn something new every time I open it.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By 44Magpie on October 19, 2002
Format: Hardcover
First of all, this thing is MASSIVE! When you're done reading it you can use it for weight in an exercise routine. However, it has over 2200 pages so it will be a long read. That having been said, I believe this will henceforth be THE standard reference guide to the Civil War. It is packed with great photos and maps, some I have never seen before. The capsule summaries are well written and informative. I have glanced through this book and now I am ready to dive in and read it cover to cover. Get this one if you are a Civil War or History buff!
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Lamont G. Sible Jr. on February 18, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This is a massive book. It will soon be "THE REFERENCE" to most all Civil War debates.
If I were to pick just one book to go to, for a search of Civil War information, this one would have to be it.
From Battle, Politics, Leaders, speechs, debates, economics, literature, etc., IT IS ALL IN HERE.
This is one book that everyone would be proud to own. ( As well, as the kind that almost caves your chest in, laying in bed reading--It IS A BIG BOOK.)
There is such a wealth of information, and every thing is solidily backed up with excellent references. It's a fantastic book.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Richard Greenleaf on July 20, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Whenever I want to do very much research on the Civil War my principle resources begin with the books of Bruce Catton. Following extremely close on their heels is this one.

I used to refer to "Encyclopedia of the American Civil War: A Political, Social, and Military History" as an arm killer even before I got it. This came from finding it in a local bookstore several years back and sitting down with it. It's a big book, over 2,730 pages long. Get the picture? This isn't the type of book you get if you have only a passing interest in the war. If you have a passing interst in the war, this is the type of book you hope your local library has in it's reference room while if you're serious about studying the war it's the type you want in your personal library.

And believe me, you'll be happy it's in your personal library because it literally is an encyclopedia on the war. As you might expect there is info in here on the major battles of the war as well as key military and political figures. Battles and individuals you've probably had to learn about since grade school. But this also goes into detail on lesser or unknown battles and individuals. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Subjects covered by this book includes music, newspapers, Union and Confederate railroads, Union and Confederate navies, Union and Confederate rations, female soldiers, the Trent Affair, the suspension of Hapeus Corpus, states themselves, the formation of the Congressional Medal of Honor, prisons, etc.

Articles are divided by alphabetically, as should be expected in an encyclopedia. On top of this, the book is also divided into the encyclopedia section, a section on documents from the war and just before, five different appendices, a chronology of the war, and a glossary.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Craig Greeson on February 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover
My library of American Civil War books is still on the small side but constantly growing. One reason I do not feel compelled to add to it at an even faster pace is the fact that I am fortunate enough to own this comprehensive work. The Encyclopedia of the American Civil War is the finest book of its kind that I have ever seen on any subject at a price that most people can afford.

I cannot imagine anyone with a substantial interest in the Civil War who would not thoroughly enjoy this book. It is amazingly broad in its coverage, and I often find it surprisingly deep as well. It never fails to fascinate regardless of whether I am looking for specific information or simply flipping through it randomly when I have a few idle minutes. For example, while looking for information on Charleston, SC, I stumbled upon a multi-page article on Charleston, IL, a small town 20 miles away from where I grew up. It turns out that this small community in rural America was not only home at one time to the Lincoln family, which I knew, but it was also the site of one of the bloodiest riots in the Civil War. I had no idea of the latter until I came across the article in this book.

My only regret is that I have never found affordable encyclopedias covering World Wars I and II that are this comprehensive. The Oxford Companion to World War II is very good, and its size is more managebale, but it is not in the same league as the Encyclopedia of the American Civil War. I cannot recommend this highly enough for Civil War "fans".
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Hugh Lowther on February 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Over the last 20 years, I have spent thousands of dollars on Civil War reference materials covering anything from individual biographies, to in-depth analysis of battles, to the roles of Chaplains and Civil War medicine. There are a lot of good references out there, many of which are in my personal collection. Yet the one I keep using the most often is this one. It is far superior to anything else that is out there. If you are a serious scholar of the American Civil War, this is right up your alley. It's thick. It's heavy (make sure you have a reinforced bookshelf to put this on) and not a page is wasted.
Whether you buy it used, or pay for a collectible version of it, you will find it money well spend. I don't know how I got by this long without it.
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More About the Author

David and Jeanne Heidler have collaborated on books about the early American republic, the Antebellum period, and the Civil War, including Encyclopedia of the War of 1812 and the award-winning Encyclopedia of the American Civil War: A Social, Political, and Military History. They are the authors of Henry Clay: The Essential American; Old Hickory's War: Andrew Jackson and the Quest for Empire; The War of 1812; Manifest Destiny; Daily Life in the Early American Republic: Creating a New Nation, 1790-1820; and The Mexican War. Random House will publish their next book Washington's Circle: The Creation of the President in March 2015.

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