Battle Cry of Freedom

Battle Cry of Freedom Filled With Fresh Interpretations And Information, Puncturing Old Myths And Challenging New Ones, Battle Cry Of Freedom Will Unquestionably Become The Standard One Volume History Of The Civil War James McPherson S Fast Paced Narrative Fully Integrates The Political, Social, And Military Events That Crowded The Two Decades From The Outbreak Of One War In Mexico To The Ending Of Another At Appomattox Packed With Drama And Analytical Insight, The Book Vividly Recounts The Momentous Episodes That Preceded The Civil War The Dred Scott Decision, The Lincoln Douglas Debates, John Brown S Raid On Harper S Ferry And Then Moves Into A Masterful Chronicle Of The War Itself The Battles, The Strategic Maneuvering On Both Sides, The Politics, And The Personalities Particularly Notable Are McPherson S New Views On Such Matters As The Slavery Expansion Issue In The S, The Origins Of The Republican Party, The Causes Of Secession, Internal Dissent And Anti War Opposition In The North And The South, And The Reasons For The Union S Victory The Book S Title Refers To The Sentiments That Informed Both The Northern And Southern Views Of The Conflict The South Seceded In The Name Of That Freedom Of Self Determination And Self Government For Which Their Fathers Had Fought In , While The North Stood Fast In Defense Of The Union Founded By Those Fathers As The Bulwark Of American Liberty Eventually, The North Had To Grapple With The Underlying Cause Of The War Slavery And Adopt A Policy Of Emancipation As A Second War Aim This New Birth Of Freedom, As Lincoln Called It, Constitutes The Proudest Legacy Of America S Bloodiest Conflict This Authoritative Volume Makes Sense Of That Vast And Confusing Second American Revolution We Call The Civil War, A War That Transformed A Nation And Expanded Our Heritage Of Liberty

James M McPherson born October 11, 1936 is an American Civil War historian, and is the George Henry Davis 86 Professor Emeritus of United States History at Princeton University He received the Pulitzer Prize for Battle Cry of Freedom, his most famous book He was the president of the American Historical Association in 2003, and is a member of the editorial board of Encyclop dia Britannica.Bor

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  • Paperback
  • 867 pages
  • Battle Cry of Freedom
  • James M. McPherson
  • English
  • 10 August 2017
  • 9780195168952

10 thoughts on “Battle Cry of Freedom

  1. says:

    Embarking on reading or in this case rerereading McPherson s civil war at 800 plus pages feels like committing to refighting that four year conflict One feels the need of a logistics corps to support the reading effort at the front as the page counts mounts and mounts The book itself particularly in a hardback incarnation is virtually a civil war, it could be lobbed with hostile intent at a passerby, or laid on the ground to make a defensive position or strapped to the chest to protect the heart from musket balls or sabre blows.McPherson paints a busy panorama, crowded with details finely drawn and occasionally even quotable, starting in the 1830s, going through the divergence in economic development in north and south suggesting at the end that it was the north with it industrialising and increasingly capitalist society which was exceptional while the South was broadly typical of mid nineteenth century societies in being agrarian and reliant on tied labour, the Mexican war, land grabbing adventures in Nicaragua, the collapse of the Whig party and sectional violence everywhere, muskets, swords and walking sticks taken up in anger As a reader there is a desire to kick back against this portentous handling which reads as though McPherson was writing with Wagner s Gotterdammarung playing in the background, Siegfried s death implying this conflict was inevitable, already perhaps in progress by other means long before Fort Sumter was fired upon This naturally leads to wanting him to just get on with things rather than continuing to set out his stall for several hundred pages The downside with this feeling of inevitability is that he then has to dismiss initial votes by Southern states against secession as merely conditional unionism or equally praise Lincoln and the Republicans refusal to negotiate after his election as a realistic course of action Perhaps, but these it seems to me are debatable points Ultimately he comes down strongly in favour of contingency pointing out the impact of victories and defeats in shifting public opinion and the sentiments and opinions of the major political actors.McPherson pulls out the role of race and attitudes about race, not simply white vs black, but even within whiteness Saxon vs Norman view spoiler in which reading the southerners were the gentle yet warlike descendants of the Normans, recognisable as the Cavaliers in the earlier English Civil War, while your Northerner was a rude mechanical hide spoiler

  2. says:

    Being a young history buff, it took me 3 weeks and 3 days to read this That is, 3 weeks of contemplating reading it and proceeding to finish it in 3 days This book is undoubtedly the best 1 volume book on the war that divided and reunited America but ended some of our back then traditions such as slavery In other words, the Civil War It has a good balance of the battles such as Gettysburg and Antietam while it does discuss the social, political, and economic factors that also fueled the war It starts off at the end of the Mexican American War and does so for the first 100 pages Then, it starts off on the attack on Fort Sumter and what happened the rest of the time during the Civil War McPherson s prose reads in the style of a novel It s a very easy read and also very enjoyable There are always other books on the subject that go in depth on different aspects such as the battles or the figures, but if you want a general overview of the Civil War from its origins to its aftermath, this is THE book

  3. says:

    It is reported that there are 15,000 books on the Civil War in the Library of Congress, so the natural question is where do you start Further, Most of the seminal Civil War works are volumes and thousands of pages Well in 850 pages, McPherson provides succint, yet thorough historical writing of the highest caliber It unmuddies the waters as to the reasons for the country s schism and the start of the war and provides the necessary level of detail as to the prosecution of the war without going inot excruciating detail about troop movements and the like Perhaps the most remarkable piece of the book was the eiplogue in which McPherson presents an interesting point about America s notions of liberty and freedom Whereas before the Civil War the nation was intent on keeping Americans free from things, the Civil War represented a shift in that the government was now thought of as a agent that gave people freedom to things.

  4. says:

    If you want detailed discussion of battles, this is not the book for you If you want detailed descriptions of key actors during the Civil War, this will not be the book for you But if you want an all encompassing volume, linking the battles, economic issues, social life, culture, and politics, then this book will be a wonderful resource.Where does the title of the book come from A Civil War song, The Battle Cry of Freedom, written in 1862 Illustrative lines The Union forever, Hurrah boys Hurrah Down with the traitor and up with the star While we rally round the flag boys,rally once again, Shouting the battle cry of freedom McPherson addresses the purpose of this volume Page ix .I have tried to integrate the political and military events of this era with important social and economic developments to form a seamless web synthesizing up to date scholarship with my own research and interpretations The book begins with background, the Mexican War, slavery, bleeding Kansas, and the election of 1860 We learn about the comparative economies in north and south as well as social and cultural and political issues Then, as one chapter title says so well, Amateurs go to war Starting with untrained forces and many inept officers, the war began.The difference between this and other histories can be noted in space devoted to battles Pea Ridge Elkhorn Tavern is covered in two pages Shiloh is addressed in 11 pages 11 pages on Vicksburg 13 pages are devoted to Gettysburg But the context in which these battles and others were fought provides a deeper view of the Civil War For instance, a table on page 608 suggests that it was a poor man s fight, with laborers, farmers, making up the bulk of the Union forces But McPherson notes that this ignores demographic realities and that, in fact, there was greater representativeness among the Union military than has often been noted.All in all, an impressive work, integrating the many aspects of the Civil War in just one volume, with 862 pages of text.

  5. says:

    The times, they change so fast, and the Young People Today know nothing of drive ins of paper routes of bizarrely racist street parades Indiana Democrats organized a parade which included young girls in white dresses carrying banners inscribed Fathers, save us from nigger husbands p 159 A Democratic float in a New York parade carried life size effigies of Horace Greeley and a good looking nigger wench, whom he caressed with all the affection of a true Republican A banner proclaimed that free love and free niggers will certainly elect Old Abe p.224 And of course Frederick Douglass fame recommended him to white imagination as a spectre of Black Sexual Menace Here s Stephen Douglas doing his best, in the 1858 Illinois Senate race, to smear Lincoln as the candidate of most dread amalgamation Why, in Freeport Douglas saw a handsome carriage drive up to a Lincoln meeting A beautiful young lady was sitting on the box seat, whilst Frederick Douglass and her mother reclined inside, and the owner of the carriage acted as driver If you, Black Republicans, think that the negro ought to be on a social equality with your wives and daughters, whilst you drive the team, you have a perfect right to do so Those of you who believe that the negro is your equal of course will vote for Mr Lincoln Down with the negro, no, no, c p 185 He hath lept into my seat The stenographer s parenthetical capture of crowd comments is priceless Have you seen pictures of the young Frederick Douglass Hot Smoldering Dark, needless to say Brooding over a Tortured, ahem, Past Daguerreotype pin up He d have been an ideal heartthrob villain of the smutty pulp Democrats used to terrify titillate white voters back then McPherson cracked me up with this description of the literature they distributed during the 1864 presidential campaign Numerous cartoons showed thick lipped, grinning, coarse black men kissing apple cheeked girls with snow white bosoms or dancing with them at the Miscegenation Ball to follow Lincoln s re election The Benediction of a leaflet entitled Black Republican Prayer invoked the blessings of Emancipation throughout our unhappy land so that illustrious, sweet scented Sambo may nestle in the bosom of every Abolition woman, that she may be quickened by the pure blood of the majestic African p 789 Most dramatic for me were the 300 pages before war even broke out Is there anything compelling than the death of an old regime The gradual polarization of opinion the slow gathering of anti slavery or at least anti slaveholder sentiment the revolutionary emergence of the Republicans and the election of Lincoln in 1860 the south s counter revolutionary breakaway a war to restore the Old Union becoming a war to destroy the Old South And the military industrial Titanism of the wartime North, and the Congress endorsing the blueprint for modern America by passing the Homestead Act, centralizing the nation s banking system, and voting funds for the transcontinental railway and land grant colleges, measures that had been successfully opposed by southern representatives while they remained in the Union McPherson s subtitle, The Civil War Era heralded this reader s re orientation than a neatly bounded conflict, the Civil War is a political process of decades, a revolutionary watershed America 1846 1865 compares to France 1789 1804 or Russia 1914 1923 I was surprised by the amount of violence that took place before war actually started I knew about Bleeding Kansas, proslavery bushwhackers vs antislavery Jayhawks, and John Brown and his broadsword armed sons kidnapping proslavery men in the dead of night and then hacking them to pieces all Charles Taylor style But I knew nothing about the southern adventurers, would be John C Fr monts, who in the 1850s set out to conquer a Caribbean empire for slavery At the head of small private armies hirelings picked from the drunken spew and vomit of an uneasy civilization, said Charles Sumner and with the tacit support of factions of the Federal government, these gringo conquistadors launched from New Orleans to go filibustering about the gulf from the Spanish filibustero, freebooter almost needless to mention their later, senatorial mastery of the art Cuba was invaded, twice also Nicaragua and Baja California These ruffian forays came to naught Cuban garrotters and Nicaraguan firing squads stayed busy And Cuba wouldn t be taken under American protection until 1898, when the Federal government dispatched its fleet and its army those ranks filled with jobless men from the still devastated south In mid nineteenth century America, Joe Average North dreamt of a homestead in the bountiful West, in the honey glazed Bierstadt landscape, once the Indians were exterminated Joe Average South dreamt of the annexation of Cuba The island s 400,000 slaves seemed to promise that every poor white man would get some niggers too Aw, like a chicken in every pot

  6. says:

    The terms ofpeace and the dimensions of black freedom would occupy the country for a decade or Meanwhile the process of chronicling the war and reckoning with its consequences began immediately after it ended and has never ceased More than 620,000 soldiers lost their lives in four years of conflict 360,000 Yankees and at least 260,000 rebels The number of southern civilians who died as a direct or indirect result of the war cannot be known what can be said is that the Civil War s cost in American lives was as great as in all of the nation s other wars combined through Vietnam Was the liberation of four million slaves and the preservation of the Union worth the cost That question too will probably never cease to be debated but in 1865 few Black people and not many northerners doubted the answer. This is year 3 of United Nations International Decade for People of African DescentOh hey, look what I found ever there was a one volume history as comprehensive on anything this is it I feel this to be a truly monumental achievement for me to complete this book As good as Ken Burns documentary on the war was, this is easily comprehensive a history It is amazing to believe that this volume was made to serve as an introduction to the American Civil War, but that s what this is If you are trying to understand why United States of America is the way it is right now you must know the history of the Civil War and Reconstruction Much of the turbulence in the current American government can be traced back to a plurality of people in the United States still trying to grapple with the events of the 19th century It took this book 200 pages to thoroughly explain what the Civil War was fought over, then the action begins James M McPherson is THE preeminent historian on the American Civil War He came of age, professionally, during the American Civil Rights Movement which ironically coincided with the centenary of the Civil War He and his colleagues were inspired by then current events to re evaluate all of the histories concerning the Civil War written since it ended and their scholarship has overturned much of the poison of the Dunning School Lost Cause mythology at least in the academies I can say with disappointment that in the heart of many white southerners even of my generation the lie remains strong I cannot wait to read his other books in the future.This is the second book in a trilogy that I have given myself to read on America in the 19th century The first book I read last year was The Half Has Never Been Told Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism and the book that will conclude this particular project of mine is Black Reconstruction in America 1860 1880 For now though, I will make like Grant after Appomattox and meditate quietly on events.

  7. says:

    As I have gotten older I have definitely become interested in reading about history, especially books about the Civil War My reading tastes have evolved from someone who only used to read Fantasy to someone who now reads a lot of non fiction Battle Cry of Freedom has been touted as the best SINGLE volume account of the Civil War I have read Shelby Foote s magnum three book, 3,500 page opus, found that to be an amazing experience and one that kept me engrossed for over a year So I picked up McPherson s Battle Cry of Freedom with similar expectations I was not disappointed I still like Foote s trilogy better, but I agree wholeheartedly that for a single volume account, this one is pretty comprehensive and well written Where the two differ is that Foote s trilogy focuses much on the actual battle tactics, formations, troop movements, etc Battle Cry of Freedom delves into the economic and political backdrop of the time That s not to say that there aren t vivid descriptions of battles, because there are But McPherson seemed to be concerned with setting up the events that led to the war rather than jumping right in the way Foote did So if you are looking for a wonderful account of the Civil War, and you are intimidated by reading a 3,500 page narrative, then McPherson s book is probably the way to go You won t lose much because McPherson is a skilled writer who knows his subject well You ll definitely get all of the necessary detail and the battles that you need to walk away feeling satisfied.

  8. says:

    Widely acclaimed as the best single volume history of the Civil War around, this is another entry in the Oxford History of the United States, which I am enjoying immensely The preface had an interesting observation though this book covers the shortest span of all the books in the series albeit with some significant overlap , it s one of the longest books in the series The Civil War is the most written about period in American history simply because there s so much history in it, as it did to turn a bunch of squabbling states into the United States than anything since 1789 McPherson doesn t even get to recounting the actual war until over a third of the way into the book as the country splits and splinters and tries and fails to resolve a vast number of contradictory pressures and choices about its future, and the Federalists nightmares about factions turned into reality Northerners vs Southerns, those who wanted to settle the West vs those who wanted to preserve the existing balance of the states, wets vs dries, immigrants vs nativists, Catholics vs Protestants, tariff supporters vs free traders, developers favoring Hamiltonian projects vs laissez faire adherents, plantation owners vs industrialists, rural folk vs urban dwellers, Democrats vs Whigs, Democrats vs Know Nothings, Democrats vs Republicans, war hawks vs doves, but most of all, slavery supporters vs abolitionists.It s a truism that in elementary school you learn that the Civil War was about slavery, in high school you learn that it was about states rights, and that in college you learn that actually it was still really about slavery McPherson completely demolishes the idea that it could have possibly been about anything other than the South s peculiar institution slavery was the bedrock of the South s economy, the keystone of its social structure, and the altar on which they convinced themselves that they were the highest, most advanced civilization on Earth McPherson somehow works that discussion smoothly into the book among a million other things, from advanced demographic analysis like his eye opening mythbusting of the rich man s war, poor man s fight canard , to the background political scheming that Lincoln had to overcome, to the shockingly large tolls that disease and poor sanitation took on each army, to the massive economic chasm opening between the modernizing North and the magnolia tinged South, and most especially, to the battles You can t really be interested in this greatest of all American wars if you re not fascinated by the senseless, bloody, magnificent meetings between two of the mightiest armies of the 19th century, and McPherson seemingly covers every cavalry raid and clash of picket lines It s an impressive feat, well worthy of its 1988 Pulitzer Prize, and though it s rare to describe a book as being the last word on a subject, surely even rarer is the reader who finishes this masterwork unsatisfied.

  9. says:

    This work is certainly very extensively researched and annotated and abounds in comments from contemporaries quotations, extracts from diaries etc This is so much the case that it is arguable that McPherson did not so much write a historical account as piece together as produce a series of quotations from eye witnesses and those who lived through events and has interspersed them with a linking narrative and his own biased comments The book is rather like a printed version of popular tv histories where dramatic footage is interspersed with aging eye witnesses making their truncated and edited comments on past events In other words this is a documentary rather than a history and it has the surreptitious bias of a modern newspaper Interestingly, the back cover of the penguin edition gives visible support to this by producing in the popular type of the US at that time Galliard for the name of the publications 6 promotional puffs The worst thing about the kind of bias in a book like this is that it is very difficult for a layperson to argue, since it is not a question of untruths or errors but of truths not mentioned or facts ignored, and McPherson is too good at his job to leave anything out which is well known Many are also likely to think that this is a fair account since the writer takes pains to give it the superficial appearance of being so There is no officious sabre rattling or trumpet blowing about this book It appears to be sweetly reasonable while relentlessly pursuing a pro Northern line from beginning to end.Nearly every famous quotations and many obscure ones from the war can be found in the pages of this book As a mine of quotations it is certainly second to none The only exception that comes to mind is the remark made by one Southerner on hearing of Lincoln s condemnation of rebellion and disloyalty if rebellion is always wrong, then God save the King Stonewall Jackson referred to the South s attempt at independence the Second War of Independence , an aspect of the struggle which McPherson does not address with any seriousness The issue is by no means dead In recent years the state of Vermont has begun to mutter about secession from the Union At the Vermont Independence Convention held on October 28th 2005 in the state capital, Thomas Naylor declared that South Carolina and the Confederate states had a perfect right to secede.I was not surprised after 550 pages of pro yankee journalism to find McPherson belittling a notorious statement of Northern malice This is the infamous invitation to the rape of women in the occupied South made by the commander of Union forces in occupied New Orleans It is termed euphemistically by Mc Pherson as an incident and Butler s women s order The writer notes that it intensified British upper class alienation from the North Is McPherson suggesting that the British middle classes of the time sympathetic to a bit of rough treatment of snooty belles Butler s statement ran as follows any woman who persisted in the practice of insulting Northern soldiers shall be regarded and held liable to be treated as a woman of the town plying her trade Even today, with two world wars and countless horrors between then and now, this order sounds appalling and is appalling It is also historically significant since it breaks the very codex which Gibbon in Decline and Fall had so proudly noted a hundred years before as the hallmark of civilized behaviour soldiers in the eighteenth century refraining from attacking or molesting civilians But McPherson who is always understanding of Northern outrages than Southern ones finds what he calls considerable provocation for Butler s declaration What can this considerable provocation be Something pretty drastic to justify an invitation to rape one would think Nothing less than murder and terrorism surely Not exactly Southern provocation was climaxed by a woman who dumped the contents of a chamber pot from a French Quarter balcony on Fleet Captain Farragut s head This would be hilarious if the writer were not so serious in believing this largely excuses Butler s order McPherson does not tell us how many women were raped as a result of the green light given by their commander I am sure that if the history had been in reverse the reader would have received a very different account. Apart form the relentless bias of the book, it is poorly served by the publishers the photographs are cramped and mostly anyone s second choice, seriously, the maps of the battlefields are so poorly printed as to be almost unuseable Maybe that suits McPherson s belief that battles are not half so important as they are made out to be by most historians Like Tolstoy in War in Peace he sees them and portrays them as a lot of sound and fury and confusion decisive battles do not take place in this account Gettysburg is presented as just one bloody conflict rather than the decisive battle is its traditionally presented as being Far important for McPherson is the calibre of generals this seems to him to be all important, not that he is over enthusiastic about Southern generalship It is not brilliance on the part of Lee but timidity, incompetence and rivalry among Northern generals which is here offered as the major clue to the slow progress of the Northern war effort As for Lincoln, needless to say he, he is the hero of the story, as infallible as the Pope If McPherson ever criticises Lincoln, I missed it.This may be, as some claim, the best book on the subject If that is true I am sorry to hear it.

  10. says:

    If you only choose to read one challenging and sizable resource on the American Civil War, this is the one It won the Pulitzer, and although it is a large piece of work, it is immensely readable It begins with the Mexican American War because that is where much of the Civil War s military leadership is forged It also makes it much interesting to see whose fortunes rise, and whose fall although these are, naturally, secondary to the issue of the war itself.This is unquestionably the most thorough and accurate volume about America s last righteous war It requires a high level of literacy, but with that caveat, it is a surprisingly accessible narrative, from a man who documents everything and knows what he s talking about One other thing I find that in discussions about the Civil War still referred to in much of the South as the war between the states , though it is long past, it isn t over Feelings are sometimes still heated And indeed, anyone who writes history is subjective, even if it is only by the facts they include and which are emphasized what sections or titles are named and which generals are given the most air time Though nobody is entirely objective, McPherson is widely recognized as the go to expert in this field Further, his bias is on the side of the angels, to my way of thinking.When I taught in this field, I kept two copies of this book, the glorious illustrated version shown here at home, and my beloved old paperback copy full of highlighted passages and sticky notes on my desk in the classroom Highly recommended, and one of my all time favorite nonfiction titles.

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