The American Civil War was by far the bloodiest conflict in American history. Arising out of a political crisis over the expansion of slavery, the war set the stage for the emergence of the modern American nation-state. This new interpretation of one of the most mythologized events in modern history combines narrative with analysis and an up-to-date assessment of the state of Civil War scholarship.
The American Civil War:
- emphasizes the importance of Northern public opinion in shaping the meaning and outcome of the crisis
- argues that the war exposed deep social and political divisions within, as well as between, North and South
- explores the experiences of ordinary soldiers and civilians, and the political and cultural context in which they lived
- sets this distinctively American crisis over slavery and nationhood in the wider context of the nineteenth-century world.
Concise and authoritative, this is an indispensable introduction to a critical period in modern American history.
ADAM I. P. SMITH is Lecturer in American History at University College London, UK. He is the author of No Party Now: Politics in the Civil War North.
List of Maps.- Abbreviations.- Key Dates in the Civil War.- Preface.- Slavery and the American Republic.- Political Crisis and the Resort to War.- The Failure of Limited War.- Emancipation and Hard War.- Citizen Soldiers.- The Ordeal of the Confederate Republic.- The Last Best Hope of Earth.- The Magic Word, 'Freedom'.- Notes.- Guide to Further Reading.- Index.