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This is the first volume in Bruce Catton's centennial history of the Civil War. This book is a triumph of skill and storytelling. Mr. Catton is a master of weaving together the threads of this defining moment in history--the time that took this country from "the United States are" to "the United States is"--and keeping you so entertained you don't even realize you are being educated and informed.
Starting with the Democrat Party Convention in Charleston in 1860 to the first Battle of Bull Run, this is a story which has wide scope and huge importance even for the America of today. The details of the political conventions (and there ended up being at least 4 of them for major parties), the explosion of emotion as the 7 original Cotton States secede from the Union even before the "Black Republican": Abraham Lincoln is inaugurated. The tense standoffs at forts all over the South - but the spark lights at Charleston Harbor with Fort Sumter. The scramble as the rest of the southern states leave the Union, while Lincoln works to keep the border states at least technically in the Union.
Mr. Catton serves up all the big personalities - Davis, Lee, Lincoln - as well as the ones who have faded far into the shadows of history. And since this was written half a century ago, the political correctness that has made today's exercises in history seem pale or idiotic don't apply. This is an important story, told with grace and skill by someone who has absolute control over his facts and his ability to weave them together.
Can't recommend this more highly
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I was soooo happy when Audible finally got all 3 of the Bruce Catton series. No one book can cover an entire epoch but Catton does a great job in capturing the personalities of the Civil War. Make sure you also listen to "Terrible Swift Sword" and "Never Call Retreat" to complete the set. Nelson Runger is my favorite reader for historical works and he does a great job with the entire 60+ hours of material. You can also listen to Shelby Foote's version for another take on this important American event.
18 of 18 people found this review helpful