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Atlas of the Civil War: A Complete Guide to the Tactics and Terrain of Battle First Edition Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 65 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1426203473
ISBN-10: 1426203470
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Product Description
In this one-of-a-kind atlas, scores of archival maps and dozens of newly created maps trace the battles, political turmoil, and great themes of America’s most violent and pivotal clash of arms. From the Antebellum South to Fort Sumter, the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, and the fitful peace of Reconstruction, National Geographic’s Atlas of the Civil War displays eye-opening maps—and a gripping, self-contained story—on every spread.

Eighty-five rare period maps, many seen here for the first time, offer the cartographic history of a land at war with itself: from 19th-century campaign maps surveying whole regions and strategies to vintage battlefield charts used by Union and Confederate generals alike, along with commercial maps produced for a news-hungry public, and comprehensive Theater of War maps. In 35 innovative views created especially for this book, the key moments of major battles are pinpointed by National Geographic’s award-winning cartographers using satellite data to render the terrain with astonishing detail.

In addition, more than 320 documentary photographs, battlefield sketches, paintings, and artifacts bear eyewitness testimony to the war, history’s first to be widely captured on film.

Look Inside Atlas of the Civil War

Click on thumbnails for larger images

"Beaufort Harbor and Coastline" "Dismal Swamp"
"Field of Gettysburg"


"The Sear of War" "Sketch of the County occupied by the Federal & Confederate Armies, July 1861" "Thomas's Stand" "View of Vicksburg"


From Booklist

*Starred Review* This atlas brings an understanding of the Civil War military campaigns in a graphic way. Not just military history buffs but anyone interested in the Civil War will find it captivating. The “About This Book” section is essential to understanding the maps. The introduction, “Mapping the War,” covers the unsung heroes, the mapmakers. The description of mapmaking tools, techniques, and even dangers adds a layer of understanding to the maps, which are a combination of around 85 rare period items (many published here for the first time) and 35 new views commissioned by the National Geographic Society. The atlas’s five chapters cover the five years of war and highlight the battles. Each chapter opens with a 2-page “The War at a Glance” presenting an overview, a map locating major events, a chronology, and a number of documentary photographs. Major battles and campaigns are then described. For each, there are a small locator map, a time line, and one or more larger maps (often from the Civil War era), with explanatory text keyed to map locations. The major battles, such as Antietam and Gettysburg, have multiple pages with different maps. For example, 12 pages and 6 maps are devoted to Gettysburg. More than 320 photographs, battlefield sketches, and other illustrations are scattered throughout the pages. Additional features include 8 biographical sidebars and 11 “Order of Battle” boxes. Three comprehensive maps of battles are contained in an appendix. A list of readings and an index complete the work. National Geographic has a high standard for atlases, and this one does not disappoint. It stands out from other Civil War atlases because of its use of archival maps, and the reproduction of the maps is amazing. The narrative is informative, and the photographs, illustrations, and other artwork add an important dimension. This is an essential purchase for all libraries with any interest in the Civil War. --Abbie Landry
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: National Geographic; First Edition edition (October 20, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1426203470
  • ISBN-13: 978-1426203473
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 1 x 14 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #98,672 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Atlas of the Civil War: A Complete Guide to the Tactics and Terrain of Battle </em> by Stephen Hyslop, Neil Kagan, and Harris Andrews, National Geographic Incorporated, 255 pages, additional readings, index, 2009, $40.00

Comprehensive is a word of which CWL is suspicious. <em>National Geographic's Atlas of the Civil War A Comprehensive Guide to the Tactics and Terrain of Battle</em> is pretty close to comprehensive though.

Organized as a chronological account with eighty-five rare period maps, this atlas offers the map maker's history of the American Civil War. Campaign maps surveying whole regions and strategies, contemporary battlefield charts used by Union and Confederate generals, commercial maps produced for a newspapers are the majority of the maps in the atlas. The key moments of major battles are pinpointed by National Geographic's cartographers using satellite data to render the terrain with astonishing detail in 35 maps created for the atlas.

In addition, there are over 300 documentary photographs, battlefield sketches, paintings, and artifacts bear eyewitness testimony to the war, history's first to be widely captured by photography. Users of William J. Miller's <em>Great Maps of the Civil War: Pivotal Battles and Campaigns</em>, Earl McElfresh's <em>Mapping For Stonewall</em> and <em>Maps and Mapmakers of the Civil War</em>, the Atlas to the Official Records, the West Point Atlas of the Civil War, and the numerous online map collections of universities and libraries will be content with the depth and clarity of reproductions in this atlas. Those coming to Civil War era maps and map making for the first and second time could hardly do better that the National Geographic's atlas. Those looking for a large format nearly comprehensive book on the military aspects of the war will find in this big, handsome coffee table book to be hefty both in its weight and its contents.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was looking for a book that would have maps for battles I'm reading about in other historys (i.e., Shelby Foote's 3-volume, The Civil War, A Narrative). I am not that interested in period maps, but I'm not opposed to them either. This book exceeded my expectations because it has both period and modern maps AND it has nutshell descriptions of the historical context of each major battle plus fairly detailed descriptions of the battles themselves. So, while not as detailed as Foote on individual battles or the cast of characters involved, this book does an excellent job of putting each major battle into context, describing how the battle unfolded, who was involved, and why the battle was important. After you read the first two volumes of Foote, some of the references to earlier battles become a little hazy. All you need to do when that happens is open this book and refresh your recollection. As I said, this book was exactly what I was hoping it would be - plus a little bit more. The only slight downside is the dust jacket. To be honest, I'm afraid I'll rip or mar it. But I guess that's what dust jackets are for. Would definitely recommend this one. I'd buy it again.
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i am a map nut, 67, also a cvil war nut.

i have waited for this book for 58 years!
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Format: Hardcover
This is a good reference book that will serve the interests of the Civil War aficionado as well as the novice.

A coffee table book, "Atlas of the Civil War" contains period as well as new maps, lots of pictures, summaries of major battles and lots of other odds and ends info. For the Civil War buff, maps are always a great thing to peruse and this book has many drawn by Civil War cartographers as well as current renderings that more sharply display troop movements and battle sequences. For someone - adult or youngster - just getting into the Civil War, this is the kind of book that can be picked up, flipped to any page and deliver great visuals as well as self-contained information in easy to digest amounts. Exaclty the kind of books my dad had around the house that peaked my first interest in the Civil War (his were the old two-volume American Heritage Civil War history; a great find if you can locate them used).

My only minor nib is that I would have liked more maps drawn by today's interpreters. The vintage maps are great historical pieces, but they are typically hard to see in terms of detail. The currently drawn maps are great visualizations of the chosen battles and give a good, concise view of attacks and movements. There are a lot of the currently drawn maps - probably over 30 - but I would have preferred more and rather less of the vintage maps. Not a major quibble at all, this is a wonderful book.
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Wonderful period maps, photos and text on all the main battles of the ACW. a very pretty and nice coffee top book that summarises all the key facts. The main part is the maps of the battles. There is a nice section at the start which reviews the role of cartographers in the ACW and how important they were in the battles.

I feel like putting gloves on when I look at the book it is so nice!
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If you're a Civil War buff, student, teacher this book is a must - BUT many of the graphics, trying to look "of the period" are a bit obscure. The maps from the Natinal Geographic are better. Some of the "battles" were a bit more than skirmishes; still people died, were wounded and subsequent battles were often determined by these skirmishes.
To understand the war, you must have a fair knowledge of "the west" i.e. TN LA etc. This book does a good job with that.
The VA peninsula campaigns and Gettysburg are well described and fairly easy to follow
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