The war that forged a nation : why the Civil War still matters / James McPherson.

By: McPherson, James MMaterial type: TextTextDescription: x, 219 pages ; 25 cmContent type: text Media type: unmediated Carrier type: volumeISBN: 9780199375776 (hardback); 0199375771 (hardback)Subject(s): War and society -- United States -- History | Social change -- United States -- History | National characteristics, American -- History | United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Influence | United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Psychological aspects | United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Social aspectsDDC classification: 973.7/1 LOC classification: E468.9 | .M19 2015Other classification: HIS036050 | HIS036000 | HIS036040
Contents:
Why the Civil War Still Matters -- Mexico, California, and the Coming of the Civil War -- A Just War? -- Death and Destruction in the Civil War -- American Navies and British Neutrality During the Civil War -- The Rewards of Risk-Taking : Two Civil War Admirals -- How Did Freedom Come? -- Lincoln, Slavery, and Freedom -- A. Lincoln, Commander in Chief -- The Commander Who Would Not Fight : McClellan and Lincoln -- Lincoln's Legacy for Our Time -- War and Peace in the Post-Civil War South.
Scope and content: "More than 140 years ago, Mark Twain observed that the Civil War had 'uprooted institutions that were centuries old, changed the politics of a people, transformed the social life of half the country, and wrought so profoundly upon the entire national character that the influence cannot be measured short of two or three generations.' In fact, five generations have passed, and Americans are still trying to measure the influence of the immense fratricidal conflict that nearly tore the nation apart. In The War that Forged a Nation, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian James M. McPherson considers why the Civil War remains so deeply embedded in our national psyche and identity. The drama and tragedy of the war, from its scope and size--an estimated death toll of 750,000, far more than the rest of the country's wars combined--to the nearly mythical individuals involved--Abraham Lincoln, Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson--help explain why the Civil War remains a topic of interest. But the legacy of the war extends far beyond historical interest or scholarly attention. Here, McPherson draws upon his work over the past fifty years to illuminate the war's continuing resonance across many dimensions of American life. Touching upon themes that include the war's causes and consequences; the naval war; slavery and its abolition; and Lincoln as commander in chief, McPherson ultimately proves the impossibility of understanding the issues of our own time unless we first understand their roots in the era of the Civil War. From racial inequality and conflict between the North and South to questions of state sovereignty or the role of government in social change--these issues, McPherson shows, are as salient and controversial today as they were in the 1860s. Thoughtful, provocative, and authoritative, The War that Forged a Nation looks anew at the reasons America's civil war has remained a subject of intense interest for the past century and a half, and affirms the enduring relevance of the conflict for America today"--Summary: "In The Long Shadow of War, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian James M. McPherson considers why the Civil War retains such a hold on our national psyche and identity. Though the drama and tragedy of the subject, from the war's scope and size--an estimated death toll of 750,000, far more than all the rest of the country's wars combined--to the nearly mythical individuals involved--Abraham Lincoln, Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson--help explain why the Civil War remains so popular among historians, it does not entirely explain why the war still matters to us today. Through twelve essays, McPherson dissects this question, exploring the war's impact across many dimensions of American life. The essays consider variously the war's causes and consequences; the morality and cost of the war in comparative context; the naval war; slavery and its abolition; and Abraham Lincoln as emancipator, political leader, and commander in chief, among many other topics. Ultimately, McPherson illuminates the impossibility of understanding the issues of our own time unless we first understand their roots in the era of the Civil War: slavery and its abolition; the conflict between the North and South; the struggle between state sovereignty and the federal government; the role of government in social change-these issues, McPherson shows, are as salient and controversial today as they were in the 1860s. Thoughtful, provocative, and authoritative, The Long Shadow of War looks anew at the reasons America's civil war has remained a subject of intense interest for the past century and a half, and affirms the enduring relevance of the conflict for America today"--
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E468.9 .M19 2015 (Browse shelf) Available 0000002074193

Includes bibliographical references and index.

Why the Civil War Still Matters -- Mexico, California, and the Coming of the Civil War -- A Just War? -- Death and Destruction in the Civil War -- American Navies and British Neutrality During the Civil War -- The Rewards of Risk-Taking : Two Civil War Admirals -- How Did Freedom Come? -- Lincoln, Slavery, and Freedom -- A. Lincoln, Commander in Chief -- The Commander Who Would Not Fight : McClellan and Lincoln -- Lincoln's Legacy for Our Time -- War and Peace in the Post-Civil War South.

"More than 140 years ago, Mark Twain observed that the Civil War had 'uprooted institutions that were centuries old, changed the politics of a people, transformed the social life of half the country, and wrought so profoundly upon the entire national character that the influence cannot be measured short of two or three generations.' In fact, five generations have passed, and Americans are still trying to measure the influence of the immense fratricidal conflict that nearly tore the nation apart. In The War that Forged a Nation, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian James M. McPherson considers why the Civil War remains so deeply embedded in our national psyche and identity. The drama and tragedy of the war, from its scope and size--an estimated death toll of 750,000, far more than the rest of the country's wars combined--to the nearly mythical individuals involved--Abraham Lincoln, Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson--help explain why the Civil War remains a topic of interest. But the legacy of the war extends far beyond historical interest or scholarly attention. Here, McPherson draws upon his work over the past fifty years to illuminate the war's continuing resonance across many dimensions of American life. Touching upon themes that include the war's causes and consequences; the naval war; slavery and its abolition; and Lincoln as commander in chief, McPherson ultimately proves the impossibility of understanding the issues of our own time unless we first understand their roots in the era of the Civil War. From racial inequality and conflict between the North and South to questions of state sovereignty or the role of government in social change--these issues, McPherson shows, are as salient and controversial today as they were in the 1860s. Thoughtful, provocative, and authoritative, The War that Forged a Nation looks anew at the reasons America's civil war has remained a subject of intense interest for the past century and a half, and affirms the enduring relevance of the conflict for America today"--

"In The Long Shadow of War, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian James M. McPherson considers why the Civil War retains such a hold on our national psyche and identity. Though the drama and tragedy of the subject, from the war's scope and size--an estimated death toll of 750,000, far more than all the rest of the country's wars combined--to the nearly mythical individuals involved--Abraham Lincoln, Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson--help explain why the Civil War remains so popular among historians, it does not entirely explain why the war still matters to us today. Through twelve essays, McPherson dissects this question, exploring the war's impact across many dimensions of American life. The essays consider variously the war's causes and consequences; the morality and cost of the war in comparative context; the naval war; slavery and its abolition; and Abraham Lincoln as emancipator, political leader, and commander in chief, among many other topics. Ultimately, McPherson illuminates the impossibility of understanding the issues of our own time unless we first understand their roots in the era of the Civil War: slavery and its abolition; the conflict between the North and South; the struggle between state sovereignty and the federal government; the role of government in social change-these issues, McPherson shows, are as salient and controversial today as they were in the 1860s. Thoughtful, provocative, and authoritative, The Long Shadow of War looks anew at the reasons America's civil war has remained a subject of intense interest for the past century and a half, and affirms the enduring relevance of the conflict for America today"--

Author notes provided by Syndetics

James M. McPherson is the author of Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era, which won a Pulitzer Prize in history, and For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War, a Lincoln Prize winner. He is the George Henry Davis Professor of American History at Princeton University in New Jersey, where he also lives.

His newest book, entitled Abraham Lincoln, celebrates the 200th anniversary of Lincoln's birth with a short, but detailed look at this president's life. (Bowker Author Biography) James M. McPherson, McPherson was born in 1936 and received a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University in 1963. He began teaching at Princeton University in the mid 1960's and is the author of several articles, reviews and essays on the Civil War, specifically focusing on the role of slaves in their own liberation and the activities of the abolitionists.

His earliest work, "The Struggle for Equality," studied the activities of the Abolitionist movement following the Emancipation Proclamation. "Battle Cry of Freedom" won the Pulitzer Prize for History in 1989. "Drawn With the Sword" (1996) is a collection of essays, with one entitled "The War that Never Goes Away," that is introduced by a passage from Abraham Lincoln's second inaugural address on March 4, 1865 from which its title came: "Fondly do we hope - and fervently do we pray - that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue, until all the wealth piled by the bond-man's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash, shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said, 'the judgments of the Lord, are true and righteous altogether.'"

"From Limited to Total War: 1861-1865" shows the depth of the political and social transformation brought about during the Civil War. It told how the human cost of the Civil War exceeded that of any country during World War I and explains the background to Lincoln's announcement of the Emancipation Proclamation, in 1862. The book also recounts the exploits of the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, one of the first black regiments organized in the Civil War, and their attack on Fort Wagner in July 1863. It pays tribute to Robert Gould Shaw, the white commanding officer of the regiment, who died in the attack and was buried in a mass grave with many of his men.

Professor McPherson's writings are not just about the middle decades of the nineteenth century but are also about the last decades of the twentieth century. The political turmoil prior to the Civil War, the violence of the war, Lincoln's legacy and the impeachment of Andrew Johnson shed some light on contemporary events.

(Bowker Author Biography)

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