Don't Know Much About the Civil War

  • by Kenneth C. Davis
  • Narrated by Dick Estell
  • 16 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Millions of Americans, bored by dull textbooks, are in the dark about the most significant event in our history. Now New York Times bestselling author Kenneth C. Davis comes to the rescue, deftly sorting out the players, the politics, and the key events—Emancipation and Reconstruction, Shiloh and Gettysburg, Generals Grant and Lee, Harriet Beecher Stowe—and much more.
Drawing on moving eyewitness accounts, Davis includes a wealth of “hidden history” about the roles played by women and African Americans before and during the war, along with lesser-known facts that will enthrall even learned Civil War buffs. Vivid, informative, and hugely entertaining, Don’t Know Much About the Civil War is the only audiobook you’ll ever need on “the war that never ended.”

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What the Critics Say

“Distinct, clear, and balanced. . . . Davis has a gift for deftly rendering the essentials.” (New York Times Book Review)
“Lively and relevant.” (USA Today)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Good Civil War book

First 5 hours of the book covers the history of slavery in America and how it caused the Civil War.
After that, it spent the next 10 hours covering the actual Civil War and was a well balanced, honest report on the Civil War.
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- Steven

Good premis, poor performance.

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

No. The author also was fixed at stating that the war was all about slavery, even though he also clearly showed that Lincoln had disciplined generals for freeing slaves without any authorization from Washington. The North also was allied with two slave states and that the slavery question was best left unanswered until after the war else he lose the support of two border states supporting the Union. Lincoln stated many times that the war was not about slavery, but about keeping the Union whole. Slavery was used as a military tactic to subvert the labor force in the south later near the end of the war.

Slavery resulted in the war as the south became dependent on cheap labor to bolster the ever growing cotton industry. The author also pointed out that black slavery supplanted white and indian slavery that failed due to the slaves being able to easily disappear among their race. Black slavery was a matter of easily identifying someone who did not belong. Had the cotton gin not been invented, there is a possibility that slavery would have petered out on its own being too labor intensive to hand pick seeds out of the cotton fibers.


Who was your favorite character and why?

My favorite character is one that was absent. A woman who acted as a spy for Lincoln and submitted the plans for the siege of Vicksburg. Grant took credit and the woman was given a generals pension well after the war for her service. Lincoln was going to reveal her service after the war, but, something happened later at the theater. Grant delayed any revealing of this woman's assistance believing that it would impact his run for the presidency. She deserves the credit and for the life of me I can't seem to find her information anymore on the web.


What didn’t you like about Dick Estell’s performance?

The orator is boring. Definitely monotone reading at times. Difficulty putting any emotion in his reading.


Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The point where politics destroyed the full integration of blacks into society as equals when Hayes bribed the southern electorates to change their vote for him as president in return to a guarantee to take out the Union troops. He stole the election, literally, and then walked all over the rights of the blacks newly emancipated status.


Any additional comments?

Good information, although I thought it had an agenda that did not ring true with the historical facts.

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- Sumguynobuddynoes

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-03-2011
  • Publisher: Random House Audio