Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The American Civil War: A Hands-on History

by Christopher J. Olsen

From the publisher:
Succinct, with a brace of original documents following each chapter, Christopher J. Olsen’s The American Civil War is the ideal introduction to American history’s most famous, and infamous, chapter. Covering events from 1850 and the mounting political pressures to split the Union into opposing sections, through the four years of bloodshed and waning Confederate fortunes, to Lincoln’s assassination and the advent of Reconstruction, The American Civil War covers the entire sectional conflict and at every juncture emphasizes the decisions and circumstances, large and small, that determined the course of events.

From Publishers Weekly:
Olsen, who teaches history at Indiana State University, has produced a tightly written book ideal for anyone looking for a quick introduction to one of the most important periods in American history.

From Booklist:
A manifestation of the constitutional impasse was the rise of the sectional Republican Party, and Olsen makes telling observations about the influence of its coalitional elements on the war. He covers military campaigns and battles; however, hewing to his major-issues approach, he underscores the financial and manpower demands of each side's war machine. All of these factors flow into the author's consideration of the Civil War's length, its bitterness, and the incomplete deliverance Union victory afforded to emancipated blacks. A trenchant survey history.