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The Civil War: A Visual History

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  196 ratings  ·  23 reviews
Produced with the Smithsonian Institution and released in conjunction with the 150th anniversary of the start of the war, "The Civil War" is the definitive visual history to one of the most defining moments in our country's history.

Comprehensive timelines, revealing first-person accounts by soldiers and civilians, key political and military leaders, as well as examinations
Hardcover, 360 pages
Published March 21st 2011 by DK (first published March 1st 2010)
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robin friedman
Mar 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Visualizing The Civil War

The ongoing commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War has become an occasion for reflection. There are many new books with widely varying levels of focus that are joining an already vast literature. People with different levels of interest can find books and other means to learn and think about America's great conflict with itself.

Among the new books is this large, coffee-table like volume "The Civil War: a Visual History" (2011) produced under the auspices
Tom C.
Feb 14, 2016 rated it liked it
While a very nice narrative of the Civil War, it wasn't as "visual" as I had hoped. I was really looking for more of a photo and artifact compilation than a true narrative, which is more the way this book leans. With another name this would be a 4 or 5 star read, but as a visual companion I cannot give it more than 3 stars. ...more
Peter McGinn
Oct 07, 2020 rated it liked it
I have read a lot of books on the American Civil War over the past 40 years and I certainly wouldn't list this volume as being among the best. I found some of the photographs and drawings interesting, as well as many of the brief stories that were interspersed with the images. But the book seemed to lack cohesion for me - the chapter headings at times weren't reflected by the contents of the entire chapter, and since the subtitle of the book refers to rare photographs, I was a little surprised t ...more
Vincent Murphy
Aug 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book very much. Don't listen to the reviews that criticise it for not being academic or detailed enough; If you are looking for an interesting book on a topic you felt you never fully understood this is ideal. With an impressive use of plentiful pictures (photography was new in the 1860's), maps and diagrams it clarifies the politics, battles & events, individuals, social factors, weapons, the progress of the war and its aftermath. The text, (though rather small!) is easy to follo ...more
Kim  Dennis
May 09, 2020 rated it it was ok
I would have loved to have given this book 4 or even 5 stars. However, there were far too many mistakes in it for me to even think about that. The first night I sat down to read, I found 3 mistakes and they just kept coming. When I was about 4/5 into the book, I decided that they had rushed so much to get this to press for the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War that they didn't have time (or just didn't bother) to proofread it. (I came to that conclusion, when I was reading abou ...more
May 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I received this for my birthday (today!) and plowed through it. This is an amazing resource, as expansive and encompassing as can be expected from one volume. I am preparing to fully embark on my new history project - the American Civil War. I have been wrapping up WWI (since 2014!) and starting the Civil War at the same time. (This has not been my best plan.) Highly recommended.
Doug McGuire
Sep 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
The best part of this book is the photos of artifacts from the Smithsonian.
Thomas Janeway
Jul 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: top-shelf
A MUST HAVE~for civil war buffs and non-war buffs. I wish there were six stars. Or 10. Given as a birthday gift, I have truly enjoyed reviewing this book on a near weekly basis, one or two pages at a time. The pictures are authentic. The narrative so engaging. It is immense and intense and lovely and beautiful and accurate. Every Board of Education in every state ought to replace their respective district's history books with this Smithsonian Institution gift to us all. Children would actually l ...more
May 31, 2011 marked it as to-read

'"The Civil War: A Visual History" edited by Jemima Dunne and Paula Regan. This breathtaking look at our first photographed war culls daguerreotypes, artifacts, sketches, timelines, maps and paintings from the Smithsonian Institution to create a feast for the eye. Its pleasurable readability makes it well-suited to high school students, or adults new to the particulars of the war. Organized chronologically, the book covers battles, certainly, but also offe
James Carter
Jul 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
There are two types of The Civil War: A Visual History: the one with big print and the one with small print. Get the one with the big print because the other one is hard to read as the book feels terribly condensed.

Exhaustive and deep in scope of the information presented, The Civil War: A Visual History is probably the best Civil War book out there, and everything you want to know is in there. As for myself, I found the book obscenely too much and stopped reading after 150 pages. I should have
May 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Fabulous! It's hard to go wrong when you have DK (publisher) producing the work! This book has it all and best of all, it's in an easy to understand format!

The book is organized chronologically from pre-Civil War (1815-1860) through Reconstruction.

Throughout the book, the reader will find narrative, paintings, drawings, pictures, photographs, illustrations, political cartoons, maps, quotes, sidebars, biographies and biographical timelines of key figures involved in the war. Plus, many of the vis
Simply beyond awesome. A massive tome with tons of information, in very readable sections, though not always in strictly chronological order. Reading this book is a major undertaking and not one which could be accomplished in a mere weekend of reading; be prepared to devote weeks of time to winding your way through the story of the Civil War. In conclusion, "The Civil War: A Visual History" does the Smithsonian proud and would be an excellent edition to any Civil War or amateur historian's refer ...more
Gerald Hickman
Jul 20, 2015 rated it liked it
Visually appealing to a wide range of readers. There is much for the middle and high school student to use for research papers and much for the Civil War buff to learn in the text. Good coverage of tools and methods for daily survival of soldiers and civilians caught up in this huge civil conflict.
Nov 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent introduction to the American Civil War for anyone who is looking to learn more than just the basic facts. The book is well-illustrated and goes into a decent amount of detail about every major battle, event, and personality.

If a Civil War "newbie" came to me asking for a recommendation of where to start, this is the book I would recommend.
Jan 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book is laid out in reader-friendly fashion by addressing each topic/event in a concise 2-page spread. I found it easy to digest as I read it in 3-spreads-per-day segments. It imparted great facts and interesting tidbits in a clear, unbiased tone and the whole book was filled with amazing images and artifacts from the War that forever changed our nation.
Jun 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
This was an excellent book. It takes you thru the war chronologically and has tremendous pictures. However, at times there are so many sidebars and little sections on each page that it is almost overwhelming. You worry you are going to miss something important. This is a real coffeetable book, done with DK's usual style. ...more
Apr 19, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction, civil-war
I expected more of a photography aspect from this book. Yes, there were photographs but overall the book seemed more like a juvenile book then something geared for adults.
JoAnne  Thornton
Nov 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
In one word ~ Excellent
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Dorling Kindersley (DK) is a British multinational publishing company specializing in illustrated reference books for adults and children in 62 languages. It is part of Penguin Random House, a consumer publishing company jointly owned by Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA and Pearson PLC. Bertelsmann owns 53% of the company and Pearson owns 47%.

Established in 1974, DK publishes a range of titles in genres

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