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OK, I know there are something like 50,000 books on the American Civil War and hence it is rare to the point of infinitesimal to find anything new being published. That is especially true now, as the 150th anniversary of the war is upon us. However, I think "A World On Fire" does succeed in bringing something new, or novel, to the Civil War literature. It is a focus on the English perspective. The perspective of politicians, financiers and the general public in the UK, and the perspective of Britons who participated first-hand in the war itself, on the Union side, Confederate side and in a few cases on both sides (not to mention some of the English journalists).
The book does try to be a stand-alone piece, so it is not necessary to be an expert on the Civil War to put this english perspective in context. The author does that. So for those of use quite familiar with the history, there is redundancy in the work. But it is necessary to put the english views, events, the diplomacy in context without much thinking on the part of the reader.
The book is very well written and read as well. Highly recommended.
18 of 18 people found this review helpful
This book is endlessly fascinating. Amanda Foreman takes a unique approach not only in her focus on the role of the British government and British subjects, but also in her treatment of American participants, both famous and obscure. The the breadth and volume of research is stunning, and Foreman distills it down to beautiful and insightful prose. I've read about the Civil War for years, and didn't think there was much new to learn - boy was I wrong. Foreman is well served by the narrator. A real treat.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful