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The Civil War: The Second Year Told By Those Who Lived It (Civil War series #2)

4.66  ·  Rating Details ·  38 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
The Library of America's ambitious four-volume series continues with this volume that traces events from January 1862 to January 1863, an unforgettable portrait of the crucial year that turned a secessionist rebellion into a war of emancipation. Including eleven never-before- published pieces, here are more than 140 messages, proclamations, newspaper stories, letters, ...more
Hardcover, 873 pages
Published March 1st 2012 by Library of America (first published February 2nd 2012)
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Jun 19, 2013 Strawfoot rated it it was amazing
It took a while to get through this one. The dang thing is 750 pages and a hell of a read, all primary sources and nicely bound. I think it focused a little too heavily on the Virginia battles, as most civil war books do...I'd also like to say that there are plenty of common folk's memoirs to be accessed. I find it irritating when I only read the viewpoint of the officer or the wealthy. With those caveats in mind, this is a damn amazing read.
May 05, 2014 Amy rated it it was amazing
It took me four (4) weeks, but I finally got through this! Not that it was a bad book, rather just the opposite. There is so much rich detail here that it took me this long to read, savor and appreciate what the words were saying.

This is not a book that can be read straight through like a story. Instead, it is poetry, congressional acts, editorials and letters -- lots and lots of letters -- from Lincoln to his military, from the military to Lincoln, from cabinet members, from husbands to wives
Robin Friedman
Apr 16, 2014 Robin Friedman rated it it was amazing
In commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War, the Library of America is engaged in an ambitious project: it is publishing a lengthy volume of source material covering each of the four years of the conflict. The first volume covering 1861, "The Civil War: The First Year told by Those who Lived it" appeared last year [2011]. This new volume, "The Civil War: The Second Year Told by Those who Lived it" (2012) covers the second year of the conflict from January, 1862 through ...more
Aaron Crofut
Feb 03, 2016 Aaron Crofut rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, civil-war
This is the fifth or sixth anthology published by the Library of America that I have read, and obviously the second on the Civil War. Increasingly, I am finding great joy and value in these works that provide primary sources covering a wide range within given topics.

In this particular volume, the following are of note:

Military matters, from the actions of individual common soldiers to grand strategy. All point to, and a few soldiers explicitly mention, the vast difference experiencing a battle
Apr 05, 2012 Tony rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
THE CIVIL WAR: The Second Year Told By Those Who Lived It. (2012). Stephen W. Sears (ed.) *****.
This is the second in a projeccted four-volume set to be published by The Library of America. “This volume collects nineteenth- and early twentieth-century writing about the Civil War, bringing together public and private letters, magazine and newspaper articles, memoranda, speeches, narratives and diary entries, proclamations, messages, legislative enactments, military orders, songs, poems, and exce
Sep 13, 2013 Matt rated it it was amazing
The second volume of the Library of America’s primary-source history of the Civil War. What’s great about this series is the variety of voices. There are first-hand accounts of battles and political speeches, but also essays and other things from the likes of Herman Melville, Walt Whitman, Louisa May Alcott, Frederick Douglas, and Ralph Waldo Emerson. (19th century American literature is so amazingly rich.) This volume charts 1862, (spoiler alert) the year of the strongest Confederate advance ...more
Jan 06, 2012 Naomi rated it it was amazing
OMGG...this book was FANTASTIC. Probably the best book I have read on that period of time since Michael Bulingame's "Abraham Lincoln: A Life". An absolute must read for anyone who is a Civil War buff. This book reminded me of another book which told of Lincoln from what was being written about him during his presidency, so this book gives the reader insight to what was being written about the war from many fronts AT THE TIME OF THE WAR versus author's perspective or bias. The other thing that I ...more
Steven Peterson
Jul 26, 2012 Steven Peterson rated it it was amazing
This edited volume provides insights, through diaries, newspaper articles, letters, and so on, about the second year of the Civil War. This work follows on the heels of the first year. We get introduced to the thoughts of Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, George McClellan, Edwin Stanton, Braxton Bragg, Jefferson David, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Robert E. Lee, and so on. Through their words, we get a sense of what was at stake and how protagonists in the bloody drama of the Civil ...more
Christopher Sutch
Apr 27, 2012 Christopher Sutch rated it it was amazing
This volume is even better than the first volume in this set, and I liked that one tremendously. There is a lot of very interesting and enlightening documents presented here. Of interest are the drafts and final Emancipation Proclamation (and the fallout from it), as well as legislative actions from both sides and military orders. The battle memoirs are fascinating (though several of the battles are only presented from the Union point of view; perhaps Confederate accounts of some of these just ...more
Jan 11, 2016 Pat rated it it was amazing
Really well done! Quite a slog at times at 750 pages. My only criticism, and it is a slight one, is that the battle descriptions are entirely too lengthy and detailed in terms of strategy, tactics, force placements etc. many of these narratives could and should have been abridged. Still, a very compelling piece of work. After a break, I will certainly move on to the next volume.
Jason Russell
Dec 22, 2012 Jason Russell rated it it was amazing
This second volume was just as rewarding as the first. To be fair, some of it is just a little boring, but the impact is huge. My preferred way to read these is to read all of a month's given content in that month (i.e., all the July 1862 material I read in July 2012). So, it takes me a year to read it, but it's easier to digest and enjoy that way.

Can't wait for the Third Year!
Oct 31, 2014 Caleb rated it it was amazing
Shelves: civil-war, history
Just as the first volume covering 1860-61, this is an indispensable collection of articles, letters, diary entries, and essays from 1862. It is a tremendous reference, and makes the war, and the attitudes and viewpoints of the people of 1862, come alive in a chilling way.
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Stephen Ward Sears is an American historian specializing in the American Civil War.

A graduate of Lakewood High School and Oberlin College, Sears attended a journalism seminar at Radcliffe-Harvard. As an author he has concentrated on the military history of the American Civil War, primarily the battles and leaders of the Army of the Potomac. He was employed as editor of the Educational Department a
More about Stephen W. Sears...

Other Books in the Series

Civil War series (2 books)
  • The Civil War: The First Year Told by Those Who Lived It

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