Crossroads of Freedom: Antietam

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Oxford University Press, 2004 - History - 203 pages
5 Reviews
The Battle of Antietam, fought on September 17, 1862, was the bloodiest single day in American history, with more than 6,000 soldiers killed--four times the number lost on D-Day, and twice the number killed in the September 11th terrorist attacks. In Crossroads of Freedom, America's most eminent Civil War historian, James M. McPherson, paints a masterful account of this pivotal battle, the events that led up to it, and its aftermath.

As McPherson shows, by September 1862 the survival of the United States was in doubt. The Union had suffered a string of defeats, and Robert E. Lee's army was in Maryland, poised to threaten Washington. The British government was openly talking of recognizing the Confederacy and brokering a peace between North and South. Northern armies and voters were demoralized. And Lincoln had shelved his proposed edict of emancipation months before, waiting for a victory that had not come--that some thought would never come.

Both Confederate and Union troops knew the war was at a crossroads, that they were marching toward a decisive battle. It came along the ridges and in the woods and cornfields between Antietam Creek and the Potomac River. Valor, misjudgment, and astonishing coincidence all played a role in the outcome. McPherson vividly describes a day of savage fighting in locales that became forever famous--The Cornfield, the Dunkard Church, the West Woods, and Bloody Lane. Lee's battered army escaped to fight another day, but Antietam was a critical victory for the Union. It restored morale in the North and kept Lincoln's party in control of Congress. It crushed Confederate hopes of British intervention. And it freed Lincoln to deliver the Emancipation Proclamation, which instantly changed the character of the war.

McPherson brilliantly weaves these strands of diplomatic, political, and military history into a compact, swift-moving narrative that shows why America's bloodiest day is, indeed, a turning point in our history.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - rivkat - LibraryThing

History of the events leading up to Antietam and then Antietam itself in the US Civil War. Reading this led me to discover that, because humanity is a rich tapestry, there is at least one person who ... Read full review

Crossroads of freedom: Antietam

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

An appropriate selection for the publisher's "Pivotal Moments in American History" series, this pithy monograph by McPherson (history, Princeton; Battle Cry of Freedom) argues that the bloody clash ... Read full review

Contents

The Pendulum of War 18611862
11
Taking Off the Kid Gloves JuneJuly 1862
41
The Federals Got a Very Complete Smashing AugustSeptember 1862
73
Showdown at Sharpsburg
97
The Beginning of the End
133
NOTES
157
BIBLIOGRAPHICAL ESSAY
185
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
191
INDEX
193
Copyright

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About the author (2004)


James M. McPherson is the George Henry Davis '86 Professor of History at Princeton University. America's leading historian of the Civil War, he won the Pulitzer Prize for Battle Cry of Freedom, which was a New York Times best seller, and he won the Lincoln Prize for For Cause and Comrades.

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