Here is the definitive reference to the battles of the Civil War, written by America’s leading military historians and edited by the Pulitzer Prize-winning Civil War expert James M. McPherson. This authoritative volume includes gripping eyewitness accounts plus 200 specially commissioned, full-color maps that detail all of the major campaigns and many of the smaller skirmishes of the war between the states. Maps provide a superb visual reference to troop movement, battlefield terrain, and communication lines. Dynamic reconstructions depict battles fought on land, river, and ocean, and time-line descriptions provide play-by-play commentary of the action. With more than 200 photographs and many personal accounts that vividly recount the experiences of soldiers in the fields, this book brings to life the human drama that pitted the north against the south.
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James McPhersonFrom Booklist:
Pulitzer Prize^-winning author McPherson is Edwards Professor of American History at Princeton. In addition to the prizewinning Battle Cry of Freedom, his books include Struggle for Equality and Marching toward Freedom. The contributors to The Atlas of the Civil War are academics and military-park historians.
The 200 maps in this specialized atlas show troop movements (first and second positions, retreats), physical features, and the location of towns and counties. Clearly defined symbols indicate army hierarchies (corps, division, brigade), topographic features, and battle lines (encampments, siege lines, batteries). Thus, the reader gets a "comprehensive overview of the warfare which was destined to affect Americans for centuries." Arranged around the maps as sidebars and inserts are hundreds of photographs, eyewitness accounts, letters, and news clippings.
The atlas is divided into five sections, each one highlighting a war year from 1861 to 1865. A typical example, the 1864 "Total War," begins with a full-page photograph of General Grant accompanied by a 1,200-word article that provides a context for the two dozen maps that follow. The writing is colorful and engaging. Also presented here is a double-page color lithograph of the battle of Kennesaw Mountain, Georgia.
Since the pages measure 9 by 12 inches, the maps are fairly large. Line clarity, color, and detailing are excellent. The photos could almost stand alone as a photographic essay of the war. They strengthen the impact of the maps tremendously. For example, accompanying the map of the Spotsylvania Campaign is a photo of a dead Confederate soldier, captioned, "So devastating had been the Union fire that many of the Confederate dead lay in orderly rows, the alignment of their ranks perfectly preserved." The volume concludes with a brief bibliography and indexes of personal names and place-names.
The four-volume Encyclopedia of the Confederacy [RBB F 1 94] contains 67 maps, most of them on military matters. But with a reasonable price of $40, The Atlas of the Civil War is an excellent buy and will be valued by public and academic libraries serving serious Civil War researchers.
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