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The Civil War: A Visual History Hardcover – March 21, 2011


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Drawing on Smithsonian Institution collections, this fact filled and richly illustrated history brings the war fully to life along with time lines, sidebars on particular issues, chapter introductions, lengthy captions and detailed maps...this book is for those wanting to smell the sulfur and hear the thunder of guns...For school libraries, Civil War buffs and re-enactors." --Library Journal, March 1, 2011

"[An] ocular extravaganza presenting America's Civil War...And lest the video generation, to whom the book might most appeal, assume the inevitability of Union victory, the editors cleverly deploy a before-and-after feature to underscore the contingency of events as they unfolded. Consider this lavish display as needed reinforcement for Geoffrey Ward's The Civil War (1990)." --Booklist, April 1, 2011

"The Smithsonian's collection is so vast, everyone can find something to like. The same could be said of a big new book produced with the institution, `The Civil War: A Visual History.' On almost every page there's a picture that will give readers pause, whether it's a shot of the rolling-pin-like device used to code Confederate communications or an 1850 daguerreotype of Frederick Douglass at a gathering of abolitionists and escaped slaves." --The Wall Street Journal, April 16, 2011

"A stunning, large-format pictorial history. The seven chapters are arranged chronologically, beginning with an overview of slavery in the United States, 1815 to 1860, and ending with a survey of the legacies of the conflict during the period 1865 to 1877. The narrative and illustrations highlight all of the issues surrounding the war, including the first shots fired at Bull Run, the blockade of the South, the question of border states, important battles, soldiers' uniforms and weapons, African Americans' roles, the importance of the railroad, photography, Abraham Lincoln's assassination, and Reconstruction. Chapter introductions are followed by illustrated time lines and by short topical divisions that include biographies, maps, original documents or eyewitness accounts, illustrations, historical photographs, artifacts, and reproductions of paintings. Page layouts and the use of color are superb, and sidebars abound, adding to this extraordinary book. An awesome resource for commemorations of the Civil War sesquicentennial." --School Library Journal, June 1, 2011
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 360 pages
  • Publisher: DK (March 21, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 075667185X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0756671853
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 1.2 x 12.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,111 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Robin Friedman HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 12, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The ongoing commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War has become an occasion for reflection. There are many new books with widely varying levels of focus that are joining an already vast literature. People with different levels of interest can find books and other means to learn and think about America's great conflict with itself.

Among the new books is this large, coffee-table like volume "The Civil War: a Visual History" (2011) produced under the auspices of the Smithsonian Institution. The book is bulky and not easily portable. It offers a good basic history of the Civil War beginning with the origins of the conflict and concluding with Reconstruction. Although there is substantial text of varying quality, the appeal of this book lies in its extensive pictorial record. The book is full of paintings, engravings, lithographs, photographs, maps and other representations of the battles, individuals, flags, weapons, and other paraphanelia that made up the Civil War. The book uses glossy paper. The reproductions, especially the colors, are bright and clear.

The book is in seven chapters, each of which is divided into many sections of only a page or so. The opening chapter "An Imperfect Union" focuses on the years leading up to the conflict. The years 1861 -- 1865 each receive a separate extended chapter while the final chapter "Legacies of the War" touches upon Reconstruction. Each chapter begins with an introduction and a detailed timeline which I found useful. Short sections then cover each significant event of the period in a manner which makes up in breadth and comprehensiveness for what it may lack in detail.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By curtis spratte-lennington on April 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This is probably the best book of the Civil War to be released in conjunction with the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War. Even though it might have some factual errors it is possibly the best book dedicated to the men of blue and gray alike. It serves as a testament to the men who gave the last full measure of devotion for their country. DK you are simply amazing!!!! I applaud DK publishing for some of the best visual guide books that you could possibly imagine. From Earth, to the Oceans, from Human to Prehistoric Life and others, DK is amazing. this book is a must read for anyone with a fascination of the Civil War.
[...]
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By S. Henderson on March 30, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This large book is highly recommended for it's pictorial presentation: there are alot of good pictures of weapons, soldiers and paintings of battles (not a single legible photogragh survives of a battle in progress). The text is good and, at times, illuminating but sometimes just grazes the surface. The pictures are the thing here and they're laid out very well. Will give the average Civil War buff hours of joy.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Robert J. Scheppy on May 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book consists of 2 page stories, such as The Raid at Harpers Ferry, Soldiers in Gray, Jefferson Davis, The Role of Black Troops, and Sherman's March to the Sea. So, you can jump around the book. The illustrations are colorful, sharp, and clear.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Gary W on April 11, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Nicely done easy to keep things that were happening in order. Easy to understand. Would have liked some of the pictures a little larger is my only negative comment.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dasa Kogoj on April 29, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I haven't read the book myself, but my 16 years old nephew loves it. He is a war books buff and has a number of war book books from this collection. I would recommend this book to anyone (age doesn't matter) who is into the history of war.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Melissa Marrucci on April 21, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A book quite usefull to approach the American Civil War. I knew about it (I'm italian) and this book help me, easily, to know more and more. After, if you want, you need of specific books to make deeper any event.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jmam on April 30, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Most books on the civil war are boring. This book in contrast is fascinating. The authors distilled all of the interesting ideas of the war into an information-packed book worthy of the internet age. Your brain will dart around from box to box inhaling the concepts. Gives an idea of the pitiless violence of the war, as well as the philosophies, strategies, and, at times, the unprofessional conduct of the leaders of this conflict.
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