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The Civil War: The Second Year Told By Those Who Lived It: (Library of America #221) Hardcover – March 1, 2012
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The book is lengthy and detailed, consisting of 750 pages of close text together with a detailed chronology covering January 1862 -- January 1863, biographical notes on the authors of the texts in the book, and informative notes on the texts and their selection. There are 148 separate selections of which 11 are published for the first time. The authors of the texts range from Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis to little known individuals.
Sears presents the entries chronologically. This approach allows the reader to follow the war as it developed and to see its many interrelated and complex threads. Thus the book intersperses the many important battles, in the eastern and western theatres and on the rivers and oceans, with political events.Read more ›
A deft hand was at work here selecting telling passages from many different authors on many different incidents throughout a bloody 1862. Adhering roughly to chronological order, this book gives one an idea of the Civil War from multiple perspectives: the North and South; the common soldier and commanding general; civilians and politicians; slaves and masters; nurses; newspaper editorial writers; and European leaders. Informational notes to text are nicely and quietly done, while the selected authors are allowed to speak directly to us without modern filters.
This composite effort should inspire many of its readers to seek out other, more complete, histories on some of the key battles of 1862, such as Antietam and Fredericksburg, and biographies on that year's vivid wartime personalities, for example on the difficult General George McClellan. And, in my view, many would truly benefit from additional reading on the powerful political and social forces that led that year to the Emancipation Proclamation.
If you want to know why Abraham Lincoln eventually won the battle of ideas, compare the short examples provided here of his clear, powerful prose to that of Jefferson Davis.
I think Stephen W. Sears, this volume's editor, deserves awards.
The first entry is from January 1862, with Frederick Douglass' article in his own journal. It ends with a series of comments from different actors on January 1, 1863. Lincoln's "Emancipation Proclamation" is included.
All in all, this is a valuable source of first person reflections on the sanguinary struggle. Going through this volume, entry by entry, provides a vivid sense of how individuals saw what was happening.
For those interested in the Civil War, this is a genuinely useful item for one's library.
Can't wait for the Third Year!
Culled from thousands of newspaper articles, diaries and journals, letters, memoirs and official documents, editor Stephen Sears, has collected the richest historical documents and presented them chronologically. Separately, each document is a historical artifact; together they are a sometimes poignant, often dramatic, portrait of the war's second year.
Nearly panoramic in its scope, "The Civil War: The Second Year Told By Thos Who Lived It," covers such notable events as the fall of Forts Henry and Donelson, the Battle of Pea Ridge, the battle of Hampton Roads (USS Monitor vs. CSS Virginia), The Battle of Shiloh, the fall of New Orleans, the Peninsula Campaign and the Seven Days Battles, the Battle of Antietam, and the battles of Iuka, Corinth, Perryville, Chickasaw Bayou, and Stones River.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This series is among the most fascinating I have ever read. It has greatly increased my understanding of the war, slavery, and key figures such as Frederick Douglas.Published 8 months ago by Howard Langer
Fascinating reading. This series of original source documents and articles gives the reader a cross-sectional sense of the state of mind of the leadership, the soldiers,... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Bill W.
Great compilation of stories of the Civil War. One really gains a knowledge of what it was like to live through the trials and tribulations of a country torn asunder and divided... Read morePublished on January 1, 2014 by T-Whit
As an avid reader of Mr. Sears excellent campaign histories, I expected a few more revelatory manuscripts than I found here. Read morePublished on June 7, 2013 by B. Malone
These are stories of the war as it happened and as seen by those living it. Highly recommended if you want to see the Civil War through the eyes of those who were there.Published on April 18, 2013 by R. David Stamm