This is how history should be written!
Winik asserts that the month of April 1865 was the single most important month in the history of the United States due to the confluence of historical events and decisions that came with the end of the Civil War.
The decisions include Lincoln's plan for a "soft" peace rather than a vengelful one. Lee's decision not to opt for guerrilla warfare but rather surrender and urge his men to become good citizens for their country (meaning the USA), Johnston's similar decision in North Carolina, the assassination of Lincoln, the uncertain rules of Presidential succession, the North's collective decision not to lash out blindly at a prostrate South in revenge for Lincoln's murder and a host of other issues.
My take: Winik is one of that new breed of historian that knows that good writing as at least as important as good research (You can't teach anything if you write poorly). Winik's synopsis of the issues of slavery and the Wilderness campaign are so good that if I ever get the chance to teach US history again I am going to copy them and hand them out to my students.
Great book. I heartily recommend it.
I rate this book 5 stars out of 5.
This book can be found on Amazon.com here: April 1865: The Month That Saved America