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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Civil War and Reconstruction: An Eyewitness History by Joe H. Kirchberger

Very good work marred by sloppy editing.

Civil War and Reconstruction: An Eyewitness History is a pretty good history of the Civil War. It has good pictures and an easy to read narrative of the war. It also has a lengthy appendix that includes many of the relevant historical documents, such as the Constitutions of the USA and the Confederacy, Lincoln and Jefferson's inaugural addresses, the Gettysburg Address, short biographies of the major personalities of the era and battlefield maps.

Confederate General James Ewell Brown
"Jeb" Stuart (1833-64)
At the end of each chapter, there is a lengthy section of quotes from participants and commentators of the day. This interesting addition makes the narrative read much quicker, but allows the reader to look at the topic in more detail if he/she chooses.

Unfortunately, there are some errors in the book due to poor editing. Two, in particular, bugged me. I used this book to look for info on the battle of Gettysyburg and I was unable to find it. Its in there, but the chapter it is included in is mistitled. It is entitled: "Closing the Ring: The East: November 1863-March 1865." It should be November 1862. My difficulties arose from the date of the Gettysburg Battle which is included in the chapter- July 1863.

The second error came when the Grant's forces in Kentucky were called the Eastern army, rather than Northern or Union. Some might say, but were they Easterners in a Union army in Kentucky? No, they were mostly from Illinois - out West in the 1860s.

So, I will keep this book as a reference, due to its fantastic appendices, but I will lower its grade due to sloppy editing.
I rate this book 4 stars out of 5.

This book can be found on Amazon.com here: Civil War and Reconstruction: An Eyewitness History.
Reviewed on February 11, 2005.

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