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The Illustrated Battle Cry of Freedom    by James M. McPherson order for
Illustrated Battle Cry of Freedom
by James M. McPherson
Order:  USA  Can
Oxford University, 2003 (1988)

Read an Excerpt

* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

In 1988, the Pulitzer Prize winning Battle Cry of Freedom was acclaimed as the finest one-volume history of the American Civil War ever published. Now this breathtaking tome has been enhanced with over seven hundred photographs. Twenty-four full color maps were prepared especially for this volume. Each photograph and illustration is accompanied by appropriate text supplied by the author of this awesome work.

While not a Civil War buff myself, I could not help but get caught up in the painstaking detail of the text and the poignancy of the photographs and illustrations. Once picked up, The Illustrated Battle Cry of Freedom is hard to put down. McPherson has captured the essence of the war that split our country in two. His erudite rendering of what caused civil war, and what determined the course of the conflict, is concise and brilliantly presented without being pedantic.

Every aspect of the war is covered: the horror of fighting a battle; the ghastly aftermath of fields literally covered with the bodies of the dead, dying and maimed; and the attempts of men on both sides to avoid conscription. The generals, the enlisted men, and the many women who took on nursing duties, are all given their space in this masterful history. Rather than just being names in the pages of our past, these people are brought to life, their motivations detailed, and fleshed out so that we can know them better.

An understanding of this bitter and sad period in history is put forth graphically for our absorption. As is said, we must know the past, in order to avoid the same mistakes in the future. This is not a coffee table book. It is a serious, scholarly depiction of the War Between the States, one that has stood the test of time and will continue to do so. Handsome leather bound, signed copies are available. Printed on acid-free paper, The Illustrated Battle Cry of Freedom will be a valued addition to anyone's personal library.

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