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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Don't Know Much About the Civil War: Everything You Need to Know About America's Greatest Conflict But Never Learned by Kenneth C. Davis

A great introduction to the Civil War

Ulysses S. Grant
First, I need to tell you something about me. I am a Civil War buff. I can go into long expository speeches about nearly any topic of the war at the drop of a hat. I think it is a great moment in TV when the local PBS station shows Ken Burns' Civil War mini-series. The movie Glory is my favorite movie and I personally own more than 80 books on the Civil War. I love to debate any number of topics about the war and I truly believe that it is the pivotal moment in the history of our country in any number of topics including race relations, the growth of government power and the growth of the industrial might of the United States.

Don't Know Much About the Civil War is a very solid introduction to the Civil War, the issues and events that led up to the war and a much smaller section on the results of the war. Davis has a very approachable, easy to read style and I would gladly hand this book to anyone who was a Civil War newbie and wanted to learn more. Just about any topic that could be covered in the war is covered in this book at some point or another, maybe not in depth, but it is covered.

Each chapter begins with a series of questions. For example, Chapter Three begins with 10 questions, including:

-Where Did the Underground Railroad Run?
-Who Was Uncle Tom?
-What Happened at Harpers Ferry?

Kenneth C. Davis
Davis then spends the next 50 pages answering those questions, including a couple of timelines that repeat some of the same information as the text, but puts the information in a slightly different format.

This book would benefit from maps and pictures, but this should not detract a potential reader.

I rate this book 4 stars out of 5.

This book can be found on Amazon.com here: Don't Know Much About the Civil War.

Reviewed on January 22, 2011.

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