Any true understanding of America must include a specific understanding of this conflict. This work traces the entire story of the war in a concise month-by-month summary.
The Civil War obliterated America's past, along with many of the founders' visions of what America should be. Replacing those visions was the America that we have today.
In addition to all the major events that shaped the war, key facts that have disappeared from most mainstream texts are also included, such as:
- Both Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis lost young sons during the war
- The legendary Robert E. Lee faced intense southern criticism for military failures in the war's first year
- President Lincoln was required to testify before Congress that Mrs. Lincoln was not a traitor for having brothers who fought for the Confederacy
- Jefferson Davis was routinely criticized in the South for centralizing and growing government, which was exactly what had prompted the southern states to secede in the first place
- U.S. forces battled the Sioux Indians during the war, leading to the largest mass execution in American history
- The Emancipation Proclamation was merely a symbolic gesture that technically freed no slaves at all
- The Republican Party capitalized on the absence of southern opposition by enacting virtually its entire political and economic agenda during the war
- An Ohio congressman was banished to the South by Lincoln for opposing the war
Also included is a thought-provoking introduction explaining that the true cause of the war was not slavery, but rather the cause of most conflicts throughout history: money and politics. An afterword also explains that the end of slavery was only one of the most lasting legacies of the war. The other was the end of states' checks on federal power, which has led to an ever-growing federal government that continues to this day.
Facts are explored and myths are exposed as the conflict is put in its proper chronological and historical perspective. The war nearly destroyed America, and it has pervaded American politics, society, and culture ever since. For anyone seeking a general resource guide to the seminal event in American history, this is essential reading.