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Tuesday, June 18, 2019


Union General William Tecumseh Sherman
near Atlanta in 1864.

Originally published in 2013.

This book is aimed at 4th-8th graders. It tells an abbreviated history of the Civil War, featuring a lot of pictures and text boxes. It makes for a disjointed read, but it is really designed to be a kid version of a coffee table book.

I was not fond of its description of slavery vs. abolitionism argument on page 6. It takes a neutral stand, meaning that it makes an equal space for the argument for abolitionism and point of view of the slave owners. Really?

The description of the Springfield Rifle on page 18 makes it sound like it could be fired accurately up to 500 yards. In reality, it was a lot less than that for the average soldier. Sure, it could kill someone at 500 yards, but in the hands of the average soldier that would be the shot of a lifetime - or an accident.

On page 39, it pronounces that Sherman intentionally burned Atlanta. He may have, but if he did he kept it to himself. He did order the cotton in storage burned - and that spread to the rest of the city. Intentional? Maybe. Maybe not. To be sure, Sherman didn't spend a lot of time crying over Atlanta.

What does it do well? It gives biographies of the major commanders, includes both Confederate flags (not just the more famous "battle flag"). It also includes a section on "Lost Cause" revisionism, the KKK and sharecropping, rather than just ending with Lincoln's assassination as so many books do.

I rate this book 3 stars out of 5. It can be found on Amazon.com here: CIVIL WAR: THE CONFLICT THAT CREATED MODERN AMERICA by Peter Chrisp.

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