Historical Dictionary of the Civil War and Reconstruction (Google eBook)
The importance of the Civil War and Reconstruction in the history of the United States cannot be overstated. There was a very real possibility that the union could have been sundered, resulting in a very different American history, and probably, world history. But the union was held together by tough and determined leaders and by the economic muscle of the North. While not always a period to be proud of, it did have higher goals and compelling ends. This one-volume dictionary, with more than 800 entries covering the significant events, persons, politics, and economic and social themes in the U.S. Civil War and Reconstruction, is a research tool for all levels of readers from high school and up. The extensive chronology, introductory essay, dictionary entries, and comprehensive bibliography introduce and lead the reader through the military and non-military actions of one of the most pivotal events in American history. Substantial coverage is given to the time that followed the Civil War: Reconstruction. This was a period construed in many different ways by the individuals involved, many of whom had little concern for the impact of their acts on others, and even fewer who were interested in the plight of the newly enfranchised blacks, for whom the war had supposedly been fought. While the states were once again 'united,' many of the postwar efforts divided different segments of the population and failed to achieve their goals in an era too often remembered for carpetbaggers and scalawags, and Congressional imbroglios and incompetent government. No matter how one looks at it, the Civil War continues to affect the politics, constitutionalism, and societal norms of the United States in an irrevocable way, and it probably always will. It was a very personal war, not fought by machines, but by men, affecting countless Americans who have one or more Civil War veterans hidden in their family trees. It's a war modern enough to be relevant to today's military interests, yet gentlemanly enough to be the last of the great romantic wars.
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Historical Dictionary of the Civil War and ReconstructionUser Review - Book Verdict
A select chronology begins this volume, followed by an introductory essay that reviews the changing historical interpretations of the Civil War and Reconstruction. Richter (The Army in Texas During Reconstruction, 1865–1870) then offers more than 800 entries, some cross-referenced, spanning 1844–77, on a wide variety of topics including politicians, legislation, notable women, battles and wars, and economics. Appendixes present documents related to the era (e.g., the constitutions of the United States and of the Confederacy). The select bibliography is arranged by topic. Although this is an updated edition, only a small number of the books listed were published after 2000. For example, the bibliography neglects Doris Kearns Goodwin's Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln (2005) and Joan Waugh's U.S. Grant: American Hero, American Myth (2009). Richter's framing of events and citation of authors represents a distinctively Southern viewpoint. He refers to Lincoln as "Abe," a nickname Lincoln hated, and at one point refers to him as "a hack Whig politician." Information tends to be repeated throughout the book, e.g., there are two entries for Edmund Kirby Smith, one listed under K and the other under S, and they contain the same basic information, just worded differently. It should be noted that Lincoln delivered his "House Divided" speech in Springfield, IL, not Chicago. VERDICT This volume will appeal to readers who prefer a Southern interpretation of the War between the States.—Patricia Ann Owens, Illinois Eastern Community Coll., Mt. Carmel
A very simplistic view of the Grant Administration. Although acknowledging Grant supported Civil Rights laws, the book does not go over the North and South rejection of Civil Rights for blacks. Grant,Lincoln , and Harrison were the only 19th Century presidents who were pro civil rights. The book contends Grant did whatever Congress wanted. This is a farce. Grant veteoed many bills from Congress and stood up to the vindictive Senator Charles Sumner. Grant even was against one of his Democrat relative in law who ran for political office. Grant appointed blacks to office and sent in the military to destroy the Ku Klux Klan. Grant was so active he was detested by both the North and South for sending in the military. Grant and Sec. Fish got the Alabama claims resolved peacefully. This book could have treated the Hero of Appomattox with a little more respect.