The Civil War is the central event in U.S. history. More than any other event, the war defined the United States as a nation and as a people. What the United States is today, how it views the role of its national government in its daily life, how it interprets its relations within its diverse population, and how it has evolved as a world power are largely the results of the cataclysmic struggle that shook the American republic in the mid-19th century. For better or worse, the irrepressible conflict that gripped the United States nearly 150 years ago has also formed its national character.
Kingseed gives a thoroughly readable, learned overview of the Civil War before offering stimulating chapters on the Myth of Southern Martial Superiority, The Transformation of Abraham Lincoln, Could the South Have Won the War?, Anatomy of Defeat: Why Lee Lost the Battle of Gettysburg, and finally, Consequences of the War: A Contemporary Perspective. Eighteen biographical sketches of key civilian, military, and political figures such as Clara Barton, Matthew Brady, J.E.B. Stuart, Ulysses S. Grant, and Frederick Douglass personalize the momentous events of the Civil War, while 16 annotated primary documents, ranging from Lincoln's House Divided against Itself Speech to Jefferson Davis's Inagural Speech on his swearing in as the first, and last, President of the C.S.A., to a bluejacket's remembrances of the horrors witnessed during and after the Battle of Antietam. Ten illustrations, a map of the major campaigns, chronology of events, glossary, annotated bibliography, and index complete this one-stop research resource on the American Civil War.