The American Civil War discussion

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What's your hidden gems

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message 1: by Porter (last edited Jul 25, 2018 06:23PM) (new)

Porter Broyles | 195 comments Ok, I asked what are your must reads for the Civil War in another thread... so here is a variation what are the hidden gems that you've read? What book or two are off the beaten path that you really liked and affected your understanding of the Civil War?


message 2: by Porter (last edited Jul 25, 2018 06:16PM) (new)

Porter Broyles | 195 comments Michael Karp This Vast Southern Empire: Slaveholders at the Helm of American Foreign Policy ---Very thought provoking book about slavery in the United States, Brazil, and Cuba. This book analyzes how Southerners focused largely on issues external to the US—there were a disproportionate number of Southern Secretary of States/War/Navy than Northerners and they dominated key Congressional Committees dealing for foreign affairs. Northerners focused on various internal improvements/committees. When Karp talks about the Southern Empire, he doesn’t limit it to just the American South, he talks a great deal about slavery in other parts of Central America and Brazil. How slavery in those areas impacted global politics.

Elizabeth Varon Appomattox: Victory, Defeat, and Freedom at the End of the Civil War is another hidden gem. The book starts off slow, but quickly picks up pace. It starts with the basic premise:
1) The North saw Lee’s surrender to Grant as an obvious conclusion of right over wrong.
2) The South saw Lee’s surrender to Grant as an obvious display of might makes right.

But the book is so much more than that. It takes you through the peace process leading up to Appomatax from the eyes of both Lee and Grant. What were they thinking? How did they interpret the acts? Why did they act the way they did? What were the orders of their respective presidents (Davis and Lincoln)? How could they fulfill those orders? Could they really?

She talks about how officers/enlisted/media/churches/etc saw the actions of Appomattox and how they have an impact on today. This book has influenced how I see events in other books.


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