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Civil War: I Used To Know That    by Fred DuBose order for
Civil War
by Fred DuBose
Order:  USA  Can
Readers Digest, 2011 (2011)
* * *   Reviewed by Kelly Thunstrom

The series of I Used To Know That books is something I wish I had growing up. Cliff's Notes were great and useful while cramming for a Shakespeare exam but there are those times when an abridged historical account comes in handy. The Civil War installment of the series, written by Fred DuBose, provides a quick-reading and accurate account of the events that lead up to the Civil War, the War itself, and the Reconstruction of the South afterwards.

DuBose provides the detail behind the battles the characters who fought the battles, the key historical moments in the run up to the Civil War, and what other factors led to the War besides the one we all associate as its primary cause. DuBose provides reference points to jump around within the book to get more information on a war general, a battle, or someone he feels is critical to telling the tale of the War Between the States. I Used To Know That: Civil War provides the abbreviated context that those who are not historically inclined crave, and reads quickly enough to be able to zip through it in relatively short order. There were some facts that I picked up in this that I did not know such as the account of John F. Parker, a man who was prone to the habit of the bottle and on the night of Lincoln's death left his job as Lincoln's bodyguard to catch a glimpse of the play and then to have a drink at a local saloon.

Is the book for everyone? If you are into historical biographies and longer reads, this will not be your cup of tea. While it's not meant to be a supplemental aid in the ilk of Cliff's Notes, it probably is better suited to be used in that regard. Regardless, it was an interesting read that taught me a few things that I did not know, as well as jarring some facts out of the back corners of my mind.

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