Paul's Reviews > Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era

Battle Cry of Freedom by James M. McPherson
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's review
Jun 28, 11

Wow. This is an outstanding book. McPherson does a superb job of capturing the conflicts that led to the Civil War, and the course of the war itself, in language that makes it seem like it's happening right now. While reading the book, for example, I got angry with a lot of the southerners for their disingenuous and racist arguments.

I'm mostly interested in the military history of the war, and while this isn't the focus of McPherson's book, he still writes clearly and elegantly about the battles, soldiers, and commanders. He has his opinions--he seems to think Bragg was worthless, for example--but the writing is so good and so well-grounded in research that his opinions are clearly reasonable (even if you disagree).

One note about the book--although McPherson writes at length about the lead-up to the war, there's almost nothing about the time after the war. The book ends with Lincoln's assassination, and while there's a short discussion of the importance of the war in U.S. history, it's a short section, and is clearly not the focus of the book. So if you're looking for something that covers the post-war U.S. in detail, this isn't that book.

I've heard this book described as the best single-volume history of the American Civil War, and I have to agree. It's just excellent. I strongly recommend it.

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Paul This was recommended as the best one-volume history of the Civil War. So far, I quite like it.

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