This is an audio book that accompanies the PBS video series 'The Civil War,' by Ken Burns. It is abridged, so it doesn't go into as much detail as the...moreThis is an audio book that accompanies the PBS video series 'The Civil War,' by Ken Burns. It is abridged, so it doesn't go into as much detail as the videos, but it hits all of the high points. It is read by Ken Burns, who does a fantastic job reading it. I always feel that the reader adds or detracts a lot from an audio book.
I listened to this book and watched the PBS series simultaneously, as well as read several books on the Civil War at the same time. Even though this audio book is abridged, I found information in it which were not covered in the books I read. Not only was it informational, but I found it to be exceedingly interesting as well.(less)
James McPherson has created a masterpiece with this book. If you only read one book on the Civil War, it should be this one. It is a comprehensive stu...moreJames McPherson has created a masterpiece with this book. If you only read one book on the Civil War, it should be this one. It is a comprehensive study of the Civil War, explaining the events in detail. However, McPherson does this in such an interesting way that he makes learning about the Civil war pleasurable. This book is so well written, that it often reads like a novel, keeping you engrossed throughout. It is no wonder that it won the Pulitzer Prize.(less)
I read this book in conjunction with several other books in order to gain an in-depth knowledge of the Civil War through several authors’ perspectives...moreI read this book in conjunction with several other books in order to gain an in-depth knowledge of the Civil War through several authors’ perspectives. I like that this book contained so many primary sources so that I could understand what people were thinking and feeling. Davis sometimes includes light-hearted and humorous stories, which makes this book even more interesting and fun.
In addition, I like the timelines and the fact that they include events, which were occurring outside of the Civil War, such as Indian battles in Colorado, or books being written by famous authors. Most of what is written about this time period focuses primarily on the Civil War, and I have often wondered what else was occurring during this period. One example would be the westward migration of settlers. I also like the appendices in the back of the book, which compared the economies of the North and South. It really helped me to understand what each side was working with in terms of number of states, population, economy, factories, railroads, etc.
One of my favorite parts of the book, however, was the 'Whatever Became Of?' section near the end. It names many of the primary players in the Civil War, and tells what they went on to do after the war. It was interesting seeing so many connections between these people and the roles they played in our country's history. Finally, I appreciated the fact that this book was written in small increments. You can pick up the book, read a few pages, set it down, and come back to it later. This is great for when you are busy.(less)
This is a great history of the events of the Civil War. I liked how this book was laid out in chronological order so that you know what events occurre...moreThis is a great history of the events of the Civil War. I liked how this book was laid out in chronological order so that you know what events occurred when. In addition, it was nice to be able to see what events were occurring simultaneously. The best part of this book, however, was the fact that it was filled with primary sources. The speeches, as well as diaries, and letters of correspondence between people help you to know what people were thinking and feeling. It was like reading history, but also being there and experiencing it too.
There were numerous wonderful pictures in the book which I really enjoyed, but I would have liked some maps to help me visualize where the events took place.(less)
Harlan Abrahams and Arturo Lopez-Levy worked together to illustrate the changes that are slowly taking place in Cuba now that Raul Castro is assuming...moreHarlan Abrahams and Arturo Lopez-Levy worked together to illustrate the changes that are slowly taking place in Cuba now that Raul Castro is assuming the leadership of the country. They point out that Raul does not have the charisma that Fidel had and he may have to struggle to implement some of the desired changes in order to make the country’s failing economy, political structure, and laws work. They also insist that these necessary changes need to be implemented gradually, so as not to create additional problems.
Some of the changes which Raul has begun to make are in the area of land reform, which the authors declare are essential. In addition, they discuss the call for freedom of internet access and the freedom to travel. Cuba moreover has limited freedom of speech, press, and assembly, which should also be addressed. The authors state possible solutions to Cuba’s problems and present options in which Cuba might slowly transition to a government and economy that works best for them. Possible scenarios that they could follow, Abrahams and Lopez-Levy say, could be similar to those of China, Brazil, or Denmark.
I found much of this book extremely interesting, especially when discussing issues about globalization, human rights, Communist history, Cuban culture, and future options for Cuba. However, I felt that the authors were sometimes pushing their agenda a little too strongly, such as their insistence that the United States end the embargo against Cuba. It almost felt like they were trying to dictate U.S. foreign policy.
One of the things that disappointed me was the lack of information about Raul Castro. With his name being the leading two words of the title, 'Raul Castro and the New Cuba', I guess I just thought it might be a biographical work to a certain extent. Instead, there was actually very little information about him in the book. In addition, I felt that the text often jumped from one topic to another without transitions, which sometimes made it difficult to follow.(less)