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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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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

STEPHEN W.SEARS, editor, is the author of George B. McClellan: The Young Napoleon; Landscape Turned Red: The Battle of Antietam; To the Gates of Richmond: The Peninsula Campaign; Chancellorsville; and Gettysburg. He has also edited The Civil War Papers of George B. McClellan.
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Product Details

  • Series: Library of America (Book 221)
  • Hardcover: 936 pages
  • Publisher: Library of America; F First Edition edition (March 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1598531441
  • ISBN-13: 978-1598531442
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #342,786 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Robin Friedman HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 22, 2012
Format: Hardcover
In commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War, the Library of America is engaged in an ambitious project: it is publishing a lengthy volume of source material covering each of the four years of the conflict. The first volume covering 1861, "The Civil War: The First Year told by Those who Lived it" The Civil War: The First Year Told by Those Who Lived 1t (Library of America #212) appeared last year. This new volume, "The Civil War: The Second Year Told by Those who Lived it" (2012) covers the second year of the conflict from January, 1862 through January, 1863. Civil War scholar Stephen Sears edited the volume, selecting the texts, writing and introduction, and introducing each selection with headnotes. Among other things, Sears has written on pivotal events of the War in 1862: the Battle of Antietam and on Union General McClellan's Peninsula Campaign, both of which receive extensive coverage in this book.

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.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Christian Schlect VINE VOICE on March 26, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A fine book on the second year of our nation's epic conflict.

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.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Steven A. Peterson TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 23, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This edited volume provides insights, through diaries, newspaper articles, letters, and so on, about the second year of the Civil War. This work follows on the heels of the first year. We get introduced to the thoughts of Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, George McClellan, Edwin Stanton, Braxton Bragg, Jefferson David, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Robert E. Lee, and so on. Through their words, we get a sense of what was at stake and how protagonists in the bloody drama of the Civil War thought.

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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By jwiz on December 5, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This entire series - which is on publishing schedule coinciding with each year of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, is absolutely outstanding. I found material here that I was not aware of and would take anyone years to find by traditional methods searching library resources. The material is not necessarily mainstream Civil War history but is so relevant that it could only broaden anyone's horizon on a variety of aspects of the Civil War. A must have for any serious scholar on the subject.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jason Russell on March 7, 2014
Format: Hardcover
This second volume was just as rewarding as the first. To be fair, some of it is just a little boring, but the impact is huge. My preferred way to read these is to read all of a month's given content in that month (i.e., all the July 1862 material I read in July 2012). So, it takes me a year to read it, but it's easier to digest and enjoy that way.

Can't wait for the Third Year!
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Format: Hardcover
"The Civil War: The Second Year Told By Thos Who Lived It," is the second volume in The Library of America's four volume series of first person accounts from America's bloodiest war. Covering the second year of the war, this volume spans from January 1862 to January 1863, and much like its preceding first volume it covers the war from nearly every conceivable vantage: Union and Confederate; North and South; the Eastern and the Western Theaters; men and women; civilians, soldiers and politicians; slaves, free blacks, abolitionists and slaveholders.

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.
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