Description - This Mighty Scourge by James M. McPherson
In the same tradition as Lincoln and the Second American Revolution and Drawn with the Sword: Reflections on the Civil War, Pulitzer-prize winner James M. McPherson has gathered an illuminating collection of essays that reflect his latest thinking on the Civil War. Filled with new interpretations and fresh scholarship, these essays address many of the most enduring questions and provocative debates about the Civil War. In some, McPherson distills the wisdom of many years of teaching and writing about the meaning of the war and about slavery and its abolition. In others, he makes use of primary research that breaks new ground on such topics as Confederate military strategy, foreign views of the war, soldiers and the press, the failure of peace negotiations to end the war, and Southern efforts to shape a heroic memory of the war. The selection will include several never-before-published essays, including one on General Robert E. Lee's goals in the Gettysburg campaign, and another on Lincoln as Commander-in-Chief.
The book also features a typescript of McPherson's 2000 National Endowment for the Humanities Jefferson Lecture about Lincoln's legacy that has never been published in its complete form. As a whole, these essays provide a rich interpretive history of the Civil War and its meaning for America - indeed for the world.
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(241mm x 163mm x 22mm)
Oxford University Press Inc
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
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Book Reviews - This Mighty Scourge by James M. McPherson
US Kirkus Review »
Essays and book reviews by a leading Civil War historian.The topics that McPherson (History/Princeton; Hallowed Ground, 2003, etc.) covers range from the conflict's roots in slavery to the postwar Southern campaign to control how history is represented in textbooks. A piece in Section I examines the careers of Harriet Tubman and John Brown, who went beyond mere words in their opposition to slavery. The author questions Tubman's claim of personally having freed some 300 slaves, as well as other details of her story, but he does not deny her importance as a symbol. Section II, "The Lost Cause Revisited," looks at Confederate hopes and myths: the European reaction to Antietam (which effectively killed the chance for foreign intervention), Lee's intentions in the Gettysburg campaign and the true character of Jesse James, whose mythic status as a homegrown Robin Hood survives in spite of ample and irrefutable evidence to the contrary. Section III groups essays on the Union leaders, in particular Grant and Sherman, and the harsher style of warfare they brought to bear on the South. Two particularly illuminating pieces in Section IV concern the Boston Brahmins who led some of the most effective fighting units in the war and the impact of daily newspapers on the soldiers of both sides; some observers reported men on picket duty with a rifle in one hand and a paper in the other. The two final essays consider Lincoln: One reviews several recent biographies, the other examines his suspension of habeas corpus.Brings a critical intelligence to central questions concerning the war. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - James M. McPherson
James M. McPherson is the George Henry Davis '86 Professor of History Emeritus at Princeton University. He has published numerous volumes on the Civil War, including Lincoln and the Second American Revolution, Drawn with the Sword: Reflections on the American Civil War, and For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War, which won the prestigious Lincoln Prize in 1998.