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American Heritage Picture History of the Civil War Hardcover – April 11, 1994

4.6 out of 5 stars 106 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 630 pages
  • Publisher: Gramercy (April 11, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0517385562
  • ISBN-13: 978-0517385562
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 9 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (106 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #100,558 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By John C. Mckee on May 2, 2000
Format: Paperback
I have to agree with a prior reviwer in that this is a very good book for one just beginning to delve into the sad, glorious, heroic, sordid and heartbreaking tale that is the American Civil War.
This book serves as a fine outline of the beginning, prosecution and conclusion of the war. It is a slim volume so do not expect a extensive economic analysis of the conditions prior to the war, political events leading up to the war or during it; but as a brief overview of the war it is as good as it gets.
Catton is lyrical and easy to read as usual; a fine preview to his Army of the Potomac Trilogy.
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Format: Paperback
This is a book for the person who wants the essence of the Civil War told by an engaging writer.
Bruce Catton is one of the best Civil War writers of the last fifty years. His detailed studies of aspects and campaigns of the war set the standard for CW writing for many who take more than a casual interest in the subject. This book displays his easy writing that mixes interesting facts with a style that never bores or bogs down in academic prose.
For the student or curious who want the broad sweep of the war explained in a couple of hundred pages this book is excellent. Its all here: the orignis, major campaigns in the East and West and the politics that often defined the conflict. Strictly an overview, it is not for the serious CW reader, but would serve as an excellent starting point for someone looking to begin an affiliation with America's most significant conflict.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is truly a must for anyone who wants a Civil War library. No other Civil War book has a richer breadth of imagery than this tome. This should be your second book after Battle Cry of Freedom, and your next should be Shelby Foote's trilogy. After that, pick books on narrower topics of interest to you.
There is only one reason for not making this your first book. As its title implies, it focuses on the pictures of the Civil War, and as such it has little room for more than an overview of the events in the words accompanying the pictures. However, there truly is only one failing of this book, and that is that it is out of print as I write this; a fault that will probably be remedied soon.
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Format: Hardcover
Allow me to add a different perspective on this book.

You see, I hail from the small south american country of Bolivia. Why the connection you will ask? Because when I was 8 my father returned from post-graduate studies in the USA. One of the many things he brought back was this book. At first, my only interest was the gorgeous overview illustrations of the most important battles. They captured my imagination completely as I tried to recreate them in my own drawings. I do remember reading some strange sounding names such as Shiloh, Antietam among many others. But it was the pictures that captivated me. Time and time again I would pull it out of my father's study and spent countless hours with it.

My father had meant the book to be an introduction not only to American history but to the whole northern culture as well. And by northern I mean all of the USA. A culture, my father would say, that would not hesitate to trade blood for time when it came to solving difficult issues such as national unity, slavery and later, civil rights.

Many years later, by then a resident of the US, I found this book at a used book store in Memphis, TN. Was I elated!!! It was like going back in time. Except this time, the experience was different. This time I read the book completely intent on understanding the content. Needless to say I purchased the book and literally ran home to start devouring it. It was the start of a 20 year quest to understand the ACW.

Many countries have had internecine wars, but none captures the essence of the human struggle like the American Civil War. And as such, this book should be obligatory reading, in my honest opinion, even if the word obligatory may have un-democratic overtones.
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Format: Hardcover
This was my second Civil War book, which I received for Christmas when I was 12 (thanks Mom!). My love of the subject probably has a lot to do with this excellent volume, which I pored over for many years. It is loaded with photos, illustrations, and maps as well as Bruce Catton's EXCELLENT narrative. While this narrative does not go into extensive detail (the enormous scope of the war prohibts this), it is clearly written and a treasure trove of knowledge for those interested in a one-volume overview of the Civil War. Catton was a much respected Civil War historian who influenced many of today's historians. This book (which had been out of print for years) has recently been reissued with all new photos and illustrations while still preserving the original Catton text. As these new illustrations tend to be more informative to the Civil War student than the original version's (the original had a lot of photographs of Civil war battlefields as they appear today, which are of limited usefulness), this is the preferred edition. The new edition has a white dust jacket, while the original had a grey dust jacket. Either edition, however, will serve you well in studying the deadliest war in United States history. HIGHLY recommended, especially to beginning Civil War buffs or anyone who would like to read about one of the most important chapters in our country's history.
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