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The American Heritage New History of the Civil War Hardcover – October, 2001
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Ask Civil War diehards when they first fell in love with the War Between the States and there's a good chance you'll hear about one of the early editions of this book, which was originally published on the war's centennial. Thoroughly updated by the remarkable James M. McPherson to take advantage of the latest scholarship, this classic retains all of the wonderful features Bruce Catton originally included. And then there are the pictures--they are some of the most striking battlefield visuals available. The American Heritage New History of the Civil War makes a great gift for young people interested (or potentially interested) in history, or good reading for folks who want an overview of how the North and South fought across five Aprils. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
With these two books, American Heritage continues its tradition of captivating historical storytelling through readable narratives and hundreds of illustrations of contemporary paintings, photographs, and maps many in color. The New History of the Civil War is a reissue of the second edition, published by Viking in 1996, which updated the highly acclaimed classic The American Heritage Picture History of the Civil War (1960). Edited by McPherson (George Henry Davis Professor of American History, Princeton), it retains the style of the late Catton, known for award-winning histories that engage readers in understanding why Northerners and Southerners became passionately embroiled in America's deadliest war. What Catton did for the war generally, Symonds (history, U.S. Naval Academy) does for the Battle of Gettysburg, a monumental clash that marked the turning point of the war. Symonds focuses his narrative on the drama of battle, which lasted for three long days. Civil War aficionados and the curious will enjoy both books. Recommended for public and high school libraries, though libraries facing tight book budgets should stick with the New History of the Civil War for its panoramic coverage of the Civil War. Charles L. Lumpkins, Pennsylvania State Univ., State Coll.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Item: WOMEN of the South ran out of PINS and walked around with downcast eyes looking for PINS. Thorns were gathered and dried to use as PINS. Item: CONSCRIPTION: In the South conscription was well implemented, in the North it was a DISGRACE. If drafted, a man could get out of it for $300 or hire a substitute to take his place. The COLORED ORPHAN ASYLUM on FIFTH AVENUE was attacked and burnt because of conscription exempting blacks. Item: PRISON CAMPS: 55,000 soldiers died in the prison camps of the North and the South, the conditions of which rivalled Nazi Concentration camps, indeed may have been worse. Item: BATTLE OF CHATTANOOGA - an uphill "miracle" of courage by Union soldiers. The South lost the war not through want of courage and skill but because the war "wore it out". Not one mile of railroad was produced in the Confederacy during the war. The moral dimension of slavery may have been another factor but only in the latter half of the tragedy. Again, the Union navy played a pivotal role which I for one was completely unaware of. Reading this work has been an engrossing and revalatory experience for me.
I agree with some of the criticisms of this particular version. However, American English is what it is. If you want a companion volume that compliments it, then I suggest Concise Oxford English Dictionary. This has more nuanced definitions with more of a focus on proper usage. It is complimentary to the dictionary I am reviewing and you can get both along with a useful CD version for about $10.00 more.
I find that having two dictionaries gives me two angles on a particular word. If you want even more depth, you may also want The Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology (Dictionary) and Roget's International Thesaurus, Indexed, Sixth Edition Revised & Updated. I find that the thesaurus with THE AMERICAN HERITAGE DICTIONARY is limited and not as flexible to use. If you are a writer, this will be a problem.
Unfortunately, a good dictionary is expensive and if you could only buy one and you are American, this is excellent. It also has rather concise definitions without a lot of complications that require you to keep looking up words in a circular fashion to get the information that you need i.e. it gets to the point. The Oxford dictionary is a bit less accessible, but it has more detail in the definitions and sticks to strict standard usages.