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This Mighty Scourge


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Table of Contents

PREFACE ; PART 1 SLAVERY AND THE COMING OF WAR ; 1. And the War Came; Escape and Revolt in Black and W ; PART II: THE LOST CAUSE REVISITED ; 3. The Confederacy: A House Divided?; ; 4. Was the Best Defense a Good Offense? Jefferson Davis and Confederate Strategies; ; 5. The Saratoga That Wasn't: The Impact of Antietam Abroad; ; 6. To Conquer a Peace? Lee's Goals in the Gettysburg Campaign; ; 7. The Last Rebel: Jesse James; ; 8. Long-Legged Yankee Lies: The Lost Cause Textbook Crusade- ; PART III: ARCHITECTS OF VICTORY- ; 9. "We Stand by Each Other Always": Grant and Sherman; ; 10. The Hard Hand of War; ; 11. Unvexed the Sea: Lincoln, Grant, and the Vicksburg Campaign- ; PART IV: THE HOME FRONT AND BATTLE FRONT- ; 12. Brahmins at War; ; 13. "Spend Much Time in Reading the Daily Papers": The Press and Army Morale in the Civil War; ; 14. No Peace Without Victory, 1861-1865-Part V: Lincoln- ; 15. To Remember That He Had Lived; ; 16. "As Commander-in-Chief I have a Right to Take Any Measure Which May Best Subdue the Enemy"

About the Author

James M. McPherson is the George Henry Davis '86 Professor of History Emeritus at Princeton University. He has published numerous volumes on the Civil War, including Lincoln and the Second American Revolution, Drawn with the Sword: Reflections on the American Civil War, and For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War, which won the prestigious Lincoln Prize in 1998.


Prolific and much-honored historian McPherson (Battle Cry of Freedom, etc.) weighs in on the Civil War in this compilation of 16 essays, most of which have appeared in print before-seven of them in The New York Review of Books. Revised and edited for this collection, the essays read like chapters in a smooth narrative that addresses some of the biggest questions of the Civil War: why did it start? why did the South lose? what motivated the men who fought on both sides? how do we evaluate the top leaders-including Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and Ulysses G. Grant? McPherson goes about answering these and other questions in his usual graceful style, underscored by a thorough grasp of myriad primary and secondary sources on virtually every aspect of the conflict. He forthrightly expresses his opinions while backing them up with well-reasoned arguments, whether challenging the "Lost Cause" argument about why the South lost, or supporting the proposition that it was slavery-and not states' rights-that was the main cause of the war. This strong addition to the massive Civil War canon will appeal to all readers. (Feb.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Essays which collectively illustrate his customary mastery of the field. * John Y. Simon, The Journal of Southern History *
Non-fiction books, especially history, rarely earn praise as 'page-turners.' James M. McPherson makes the feat seem routine. A satisfying and insightful set of ruminations that will appeal to both specialists and general readers. Reading his book of essays might be no substitute for having attended his former seminars at Princeton University, but it might be as close a book-and most readers-will get to doing so. * Christopher Phillips, Civil War Book Review *
James M. McPherson again demonstrates that he is our greatest historian of the war...they stand as a remarkably elegant and clarifying narrative exploration of the most basic questions concerning the Civil War, issues over which scholars and activists still contend...This Mighty Scourge, in fact, is an exemplary exercise in the contribution a great historian and eloquent writer can make to a people's understanding of themselves. * The Los Angeles Times *
For readers unfamiliar with McPherson's work, [This Mighty Scourge ] provides a useful introduction - one that, it is to be hoped, will lead them to his masterwork, Battle Cry of Freedom (1988) - and for those who know that work, it provides numerous interesting footnotes. * Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post *
It will seduce anyone, Civil War neophyte or fanatic, for its authority and judgments...There is not a bad chapter in this book. This Mighty Scourge is a marvelous read from a master historian. Like all good history, what it makes you want to do is know more." * The Boston Globe *

After 40 years of researching and writing about the Civil War, McPherson (history, emeritus, Princeton Univ.; For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War) comes to grips with basic questions about his subject in 16 beautifully crafted essays. These readings are a mix of previously published pieces, updated and revised works, and entirely new offerings. As a foremost Civil War scholar, the author carefully assesses the interpretations of colleagues in the field, sometimes agreeing, sometimes disagreeing, and sometimes presenting a nuanced perspective on his colleagues' theses. The reader will gain new insights into the thinking of men such as General Lee, President Lincoln, and John Brown (about whom post-9/11 historians disagree as to his status as a "terrorist"). For example, "Butcher" Grant's casualty rate was far lower that that of "Granny" Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. McPherson's final essay constitutes a compendium of his seven Lincoln-related books and is written to stand alone as an investigation into the major phases of Lincoln's life. This excellent collection of a master's contributions to Civil War historiography is essential for all military and Civil War collections.-John Carver Edwards, Univ. of Georgia Libs., Cleveland Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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