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The Civil War: A Concise History

3.90  ·  Rating Details  ·  120 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
One hundred and fifty years after the first shots were fired on Fort Sumter, the Civil War still captures the American imagination, and its reverberations can still be felt throughout America's social and political landscape. Louis P. Masur's The Civil War: A Concise History offers a masterful and eminently readable overview of the war's multiple causes and catastrophic ef ...more
Hardcover, 118 pages
Published February 10th 2011 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published January 13th 2011)
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Feb 25, 2014 Karen rated it it was amazing
Well written - much communicated in such a concise book. Interesting to me was the delicate balancing act between states rights, the balance of power and slavery as the root causes for the war. Per Masur, the South felt it must defend itself and they viewed the North as the aggressors, even though it was the South which shot the first shot and it was the South that advocated disunion and set up its own separate government. Masur clearly exposes the true basis for this southern 'defense' - the So ...more
J.M. Wasko
Jan 29, 2015 J.M. Wasko rated it it was amazing
Dear scholars, please use this as a model for your next book about the history of the American Civil War. I decided to read Masur's book because I was impressed that a recent two-week institute for teachers assigned it as a reading. There was something ridiculously efficient about this book's sketch of the entirety of the Civil War and its recent scholarship, and I was curious if I could learn anything from it.

The first lesson was a given. This book is an obvious candidate for teaching the Ameri
Jun 08, 2014 Ellen rated it really liked it
[Got this book in the mail from a mystery giver for my birthday last year. Still trying to figure that one out. :D]

4 stars, not because I agreed with everything he said (spoiler alert: he softened Reconstruction--aaarrrgh), but because I really am impressed at how well he accomplished writing an overview of The War in just 94 pages. Wouldn't have thought it possible to do as good a job as he did. Of course he left out some things (have to say, I would've put in at least a sentence about the Batt
May 25, 2016 Linda rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

A really excellent and, true to its name, concise history of the Civil War. I found the entire format and chronology of the book to be very efficient as a whole, and I definitely enjoyed the extra tidbits Masur sprinkles across the book to give the history a bit of flair and grace.

I didn't mind the brief glimpses of the battles because ultimately, I found that a lot of what was happening off the battlefield was just as, if not, more important in the context of the war and beyond. As
Charles Phillips
Feb 06, 2013 Charles Phillips rated it really liked it
Masur is a well-respected cultural historian whose breadth of interests in American Studies is really impressive. This book is as advertised; it is a concise history of the ACW.

What the title does not tell you is that the book has a nicely done cultural history slant. It recounts, but it does not focus all it attention, on the battles in the ACW. Context is important to Masur, as it is to all cultural historians. He attempts, and usually succeeds, in placing each battle in its proper place amid
Susan Olesen
May 24, 2014 Susan Olesen rated it really liked it
Bravo. In only 94 pages, the author manages to explain the entire war with clarity and sympathy that educates and doesn't bore the reader. I finally understand the civil war conflict. I even wrote the author to congratulate him.

Excellent. Where the hell was this book in school???
Apr 17, 2016 Wes rated it it was amazing
Solid & brief one volume overview of the war, its causes, & its aftermath. Not very in-depth but that's the point really. The notes & citations point you in the direction of some great resources if you want to go further into the most important event in American history.
Feb 08, 2013 Jo rated it it was amazing
This book was exactly as advertised, a concise (95 pages!) history of the civil war. I couldn't believe someone managed to lay out the motivations, major events and important quotes in that little space. I (and everyone else in my high school) read Masur's earlier book (1831: Year of Eclipse), and I really didn't like it. I found it boring and the premise contrived so I didn't expect to like this book as much as I did.

Masur focuses on the cultural and political aspects of the war, and only barel
Matthew Brehm
Jun 23, 2016 Matthew Brehm rated it it was amazing
A great primer on Civil War history.
Jun 09, 2014 Gary rated it really liked it
Excellent overview of the Civil War period. Minimal details about any given battle, but more focus on the politics, from pre to post war periods. Very clearly written.
Peter Johnson
May 24, 2015 Peter Johnson rated it really liked it
Dale W
Mar 07, 2016 Dale W rated it really liked it
Just like the title says, a concise history of the Civil War. The author spends a good amount of time in the events leading up to the war, even going back to the founding of the country, and devotes some time to the aftermath of the war. The details of the war itself are sketchier than I expected but the it did give a good overall view of the events.
Mar 11, 2013 Sasha rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfic
Not bad. Obviously a book of such a concise nature would gloss over what I'm sure are a lot of pertinent details about the Civil War, but for the most part this was a great, concise way to learn what happened on the surface. I've also read another of Masur's books for another course, and he is an engaging-enough author that, like his other book, I never felt stifled by the dryness of the topic.
Jun 09, 2011 Dianne rated it liked it
Recommends it for: those interested in American history
Recommended to Dianne by: magazine article
Shelves: history
This book was exactly as stated, a concise history. I appreciated, however, that the book spent less time on battles and battle strategy and more time on the cultural and political events that led to war as well as how the perception of the war changed over time and success/failure in battle.
Jan 08, 2013 Holly rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle, nonfiction
For a class. Read it all in one day. A bit dry, but it hits everything important and throws in some quotes along the way.
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