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This hallowed ground;: The story of the Union side of the Civil War (Mainstream of America series) Hardcover – 1956

4.4 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Series: Mainstream of America series
  • Hardcover: 437 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday; 1st edition (1956)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1122090056
  • ISBN-13: 978-1122090056
  • ASIN: B0006AUIKG
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.2 x 1.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,642,057 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Robin Friedman HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 4, 2004
Format: Hardcover
The Civil War remains the pivotal and most discussed event in our Nation's history. Every generation of writers and readers feels the need to tell the story of the War anew and to reflect upon its meaning. In the mid-20th Century, the leading interpreter of the Civil War was Bruce Catton (1899-1978). Catton wrote narratives for the nonspecialist reader. He had the ability to make the Civil War era, the battles, and the issues come alive to a broad public. There is still much to be learned from his writing style and from his discussion of the War.
Catton's "This Hallowed Ground: the Story of the Union Side of the Civil War" (1956) remains an essential one-volume study of the conflict. Only James McPherson's work, "Battle Cry of Freedom" comes close to matching its scope. While McPherson's work may show a greater degree of scholarship, Catton's work more than compensates in its eloquence and passion.
The book begins with the famous caning that Congressman Preston Brooks of South Carolina gave to Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts in 1856 following a Sumner speech against slavery before the Senate. It examines the causes of the War, the battles and politics of the conflict, and concludes with the end of the long conflict in April 1865. (It gives only a brief glance to Reconstruction.)
Catton tells the stories of the War's military engagements simply and understandably. I have read detailed accounts of many Civil War battles and tend to become confused. Catton's accounts of the battled are short and, of course, simplified; but they cut to the heart of the matter.
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Format: Paperback
The Civil War was a vastly complex conflict, and there are thousands of specialized texts to be had. This book captures the heart of the tale, and you come away with both the history and the powerful national and human drama. I read this book with a sense that I was there, watching the battles unfold, listening in as the decisions were made that sent men to their triumphs or to their deaths. It is highly readable, but I did not want to rush through it; I periodically put it aside to let my spirit settle.
If your knowledge of the Civil War is limited and you think maybe you ought to know more or you'd like to know more, but you don't want to crack open a dry textbook -- then this is the book for you!
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Format: Hardcover
Bruce Catton is first and foremost a storyteller. Beyond the actual retelling of the events, which are truly awe-inspiring in their own right, Mr. Catton offers the reader true insight into the stakes of each major battle and the entire as only historical hindsight can offer. The reader will likely gain an appreciation for Lincoln's burden, who seemingly was singly aware amongst the Northern decision makers of the broader consequences of the actions taken to preserve the fledgling union. Mr. Catton does not overly dwell on tactics and casualty numbers, focusing rather on the Civil War amid the context of American culture and history.
A note on the tone of the book. This is not a balanced account of the great story, in that there is focus on the Northern side. However, Mr. Catton is delivering no more or less than promised, as the title of the book identifies this intent. That said, this does not mean that he in any way exaggerated the cause or characters in any apparent way. I am not an historian, but am a budding Civil War enthusiast, and have read a couple of the heavyweights: McPherson's "Battlecry of Freedom" and Foote's "The Civil War: a Narrative," and consider Catton's work superior to both. McPherson's work is a bit more factual, but not as poetic. Foote's 3000+ page work is difficult to read due to his unabashed favoritism to the Confederacy's cause, its heroes, and its battle prowess; even though he is every bit the storyteller and researcher that Catton is. All in all, I would recommend reading both Catton and Foote to achieve a well balanced tutorial of our greatest American story.
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Format: Paperback
This is one of the two or three very best histories of the Civil War ever written. It is on a par with "Battle Cry of Freedom." It brings events to life. It has the ring of absolute truth. Its characterizations of events and individuals are poetic and deeply moving. It teaches us tremendously important lessons of character and history.
In addition, it's a real page-turner - not a hard read at all. I've quoted more sections of it to my wife, my children (ages 11 and 13) and my co-workers than any other book I can think of.
I recommend this book to my brothers and sisters who are descendants of Confederate veterans, as well as those of us who are descended from the Union side. It is of a character and stature commensurate with General Lee.
Tim Oksman, City Attorney
Portsmouth, Virginia
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Format: Hardcover
I have been a reader of Bruce Catton's Civil War histories for years (I own 10 of them). I agree with the reviewers about Catton's vast talent as a storyteller and as a narrator of events. It was through reading his works that I first became aware of some of the lesser known colorful characters of the time, such as Gen. Phillip Kearney, Gen. D.H. Hill, and Robert Toombs. In fact, it was the writing of Bruce Catton that first turned me into a Civil War buff.

I have a rather strong objection to the subtitle of this work, which the late historian would never have approved were he alive today. This book is not "the Union side" of the Civil War; it gives BOTH sides. In fact, the author is more sympathetic to men like Gen. Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis than I would have been. For many years, some influential historians have sought to label any history that seems to hint that the right side won the Civil War as biased. (Over four score and seven years, actually.) This work is a balanced account, and one of the best one-volume histories of the war ever written, both on the battle front and at the home fronts. It deserves to be thought of as such.
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