James M. McPherson, professor emeritus of U.S. history at Princeton, is one of the foremost scholars of the Civil War. In this informative and meticulously researched masterpiece, he clarifies the differing ways of life and philosophy that led to this shattering conflict.
Abraham Lincoln wondered whether "in a free government the minority have the right to break up the government". Jefferson Davis felt "forced to take up arms" to guarantee states' rights. McPherson merges the words of these men and other political luminaries, housewives, and soldiers from both armies with his own concise analysis of the war to create a story as compelling as any novel.
Battle Cry of Freedom vividly traces how a new nation was forged when a war both sides were sure would amount to little dragged on for four years and cost more American lives than all other wars combined.
Please note: The individual volumes of the series have not been published in historical order. Battle Cry of Freedom is number VI in The Oxford History of the United States.
"Of the 50,000 books written on the Civil War, [this is] the finest compression of that national paroxysm ever fitted between two covers." (Los Angeles Times Book Review)
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The writing and the performance are both perfectly fine, and I would be more than happy to listen to another book by either the author or performer.
I would compare this book to any of the others in the Oxford History of the United States series, all of which are quite good.
Jonathan Davis brings a tone of credibility, which is hard to describe, but is quite appreciated in a book about history.
The book had plenty of redeeming qualities, all of which are mentioned above.
My problem with this book is entirely in the production of the audio file. Most importantly, the chapter breaks in the audio file do not relate to any part of the text. So, for example, skipping to Chapter 5 in the audio file does not start me at the beginning of any chapter in the book at all, let alone at the beginning of Chapter 5. The breaks between the three "Parts" are no different. They come at random times, seemingly in the middle of paragraphs. This is just lazy. This is also the only book in which I've ever noticed this problem. As I indicated above, I enjoyed the writing and the performance, and that is the bulk of the value of my purchase. For those, this book probably deserves a 4 star rating overall. However, the lazy production is bad enough that it seems insulting.
A Rigorous Gift
- E. Pearson "Occasional Thinker"