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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

An Illustrated History of the Civil War: Images of an American Tragedy by The Editors of Time-Life

An Illustrated History of the Civil War: Images of an American Tragedy

As a rule, I'm not terribly fond of the "coffee table" history books produced by the editors of Time-Life Books. Usually, they opt for more glitz than substance and you end up with a pretty, hefty (and this one certainly is, weighing in at more than 5 pounds - yes, I weighed it), but bland piece of history. However, this, I am very pleased to say, is a much better book than their usual effort.

Although this is an illustrated history, the narrative that begins each chapter is very well written. The topics are interesting, especially the chapters on the abolitionists and the secessionists. They do an excellent job of setting the stage for the Civil War.

I have but one complaint, a glaring factual error - they have the Battle of Gettysburg taking place in 1864 rather than 1863. Mistakes like this are easy to make (a stray finger on a keyboard...) but this is the most famous battle of the war!

Reviewed in 2004.

I rate this book 5 stars out of 5

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