The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Civil War

Oxford University Press
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A gold mine for the historian as well as the Civil War buff, The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Civil War offers a concise, comprehensive overview of the major personalities and pivotal events of the war that redefined the American nation. Drawing upon recent research that has moved beyond battles and military campaigns to address the significant roles played by civilians, women, and African Americans, the 250 entries explore the era in all its complexity and unmistakable human drama. Here of course are the major battles and campaigns, ranging from Gettysburg and Shiloh to Sherman's March to the Sea, as well as biographical entries on everyone from Abraham Lincoln and Robert E. Lee to Frederick Douglass, Clara Barton, and Walt Whitman. But the book also features entries on a wealth of other matters--music, photography, religion, economics, foreign affairs, medicine, prisons, legislative landmarks, military terms and weaponry, political events, social reform, women in the war, and much more. In addition, charts, newly commissioned maps, chronologies, and period photographs provide an appealing visual context. Suggestions for further reading at the end of most entries and a guide to more general sources in an appendix introduce the reader to the literature on a specific topic. A list of Civil War museums and historic sites and a representative sampling of Civil War websites also point to resources that can be tailored to individual interests. A quick, convenient, user-friendly guide to all facets of the Civil War, this new updated edition also serves as an invaluable gateway to the rich historical record now available, perfect for virtually anyone who wants to learn more about this tumultuous period in our history.
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About the author

William L. Barney is Professor of History at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He is the author of The Making of a Confederate: Walter Lenoir's Civil War, Flawed Victory: A New Perspective on the Civil War, and The Road to Secession: A New Perspective on the Old South, among other works.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Oxford University Press
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Published on
Aug 1, 2011
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Pages
384
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ISBN
9780199878147
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
History / United States / Civil War Period (1850-1877)
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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William L. Barney
William L. Barney
Robert J. Cook
Politicians and opinion leaders on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line struggled to formulate coherent responses to the secession of the deep South states. The Confederate attack on Fort Sumter in mid-April 1861 triggered civil war and the loss of four upper South states from the Union. The essays by three senior historians in Secession Winter explore the robust debates that preceded these events.

For five months in the winter of 1860–1861, Americans did not know for certain that civil war was upon them. Some hoped for a compromise; others wanted a fight. Many struggled to understand what was happening to their country. Robert J. Cook, William L. Barney, and Elizabeth R. Varon take approaches to this period that combine political, economic, and social-cultural lines of analysis. Rather than focus on whether civil war was inevitable, they look at the political process of secession and find multiple internal divisions—political parties, whites and nonwhites, elites and masses, men and women. Even individual northerners and southerners suffered inner conflicts.

The authors include the voices of Unionists and Whig party moderates who had much to lose and upcountry folk who owned no slaves and did not particularly like those who did. Barney contends that white southerners were driven to secede by anxiety and guilt over slavery. Varon takes a new look at Robert E. Lee's decision to join the Confederacy. Cook argues that both northern and southern politicians claimed the rightness of their cause by constructing selective narratives of historical grievances.

Secession Winter explores the fact of contingency and reminds readers and students that nothing was foreordained.

Doris Kearns Goodwin
Winner of the Lincoln Prize

Acclaimed historian Doris Kearns Goodwin illuminates Abraham Lincoln's political genius in this highly original work, as the one-term congressman and prairie lawyer rises from obscurity to prevail over three gifted rivals of national reputation to become president.

On May 18, 1860, William H. Seward, Salmon P. Chase, Edward Bates, and Abraham Lincoln waited in their hometowns for the results from the Republican National Convention in Chicago. When Lincoln emerged as the victor, his rivals were dismayed and angry.

Throughout the turbulent 1850s, each had energetically sought the presidency as the conflict over slavery was leading inexorably to secession and civil war. That Lincoln succeeded, Goodwin demonstrates, was the result of a character that had been forged by experiences that raised him above his more privileged and accomplished rivals. He won because he possessed an extraordinary ability to put himself in the place of other men, to experience what they were feeling, to understand their motives and desires.

It was this capacity that enabled Lincoln as president to bring his disgruntled opponents together, create the most unusual cabinet in history, and marshal their talents to the task of preserving the Union and winning the war.

We view the long, horrifying struggle from the vantage of the White House as Lincoln copes with incompetent generals, hostile congressmen, and his raucous cabinet. He overcomes these obstacles by winning the respect of his former competitors, and in the case of Seward, finds a loyal and crucial friend to see him through.

This brilliant multiple biography is centered on Lincoln's mastery of men and how it shaped the most significant presidency in the nation's history.
Robert J. Cook
Politicians and opinion leaders on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line struggled to formulate coherent responses to the secession of the deep South states. The Confederate attack on Fort Sumter in mid-April 1861 triggered civil war and the loss of four upper South states from the Union. The essays by three senior historians in Secession Winter explore the robust debates that preceded these events.

For five months in the winter of 1860–1861, Americans did not know for certain that civil war was upon them. Some hoped for a compromise; others wanted a fight. Many struggled to understand what was happening to their country. Robert J. Cook, William L. Barney, and Elizabeth R. Varon take approaches to this period that combine political, economic, and social-cultural lines of analysis. Rather than focus on whether civil war was inevitable, they look at the political process of secession and find multiple internal divisions—political parties, whites and nonwhites, elites and masses, men and women. Even individual northerners and southerners suffered inner conflicts.

The authors include the voices of Unionists and Whig party moderates who had much to lose and upcountry folk who owned no slaves and did not particularly like those who did. Barney contends that white southerners were driven to secede by anxiety and guilt over slavery. Varon takes a new look at Robert E. Lee's decision to join the Confederacy. Cook argues that both northern and southern politicians claimed the rightness of their cause by constructing selective narratives of historical grievances.

Secession Winter explores the fact of contingency and reminds readers and students that nothing was foreordained.

William L. Barney
A gold mine for the historian as well as the Civil War buff, The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Civil War offers a concise, comprehensive overview of the major personalities and pivotal events of the war that redefined the American nation. Drawing upon recent research that has moved beyond battles and military campaigns to address the significant roles played by civilians, women, and African Americans, the 250 entries explore the era in all its complexity and unmistakable human drama. Here of course are the major battles and campaigns, ranging from Gettysburg and Shiloh to Sherman's March to the Sea, as well as biographical entries on everyone from Abraham Lincoln and Robert E. Lee to Frederick Douglass, Clara Barton, and Walt Whitman. But the book also features entries on a wealth of other matters--music, photography, religion, economics, foreign affairs, medicine, prisons, legislative landmarks, military terms and weaponry, political events, social reform, women in the war, and much more. In addition, charts, newly commissioned maps, chronologies, and period photographs provide an appealing visual context. Suggestions for further reading at the end of most entries and a guide to more general sources in an appendix introduce the reader to the literature on a specific topic. A list of Civil War museums and historic sites and a representative sampling of Civil War websites also point to resources that can be tailored to individual interests. A quick, convenient, user-friendly guide to all facets of the Civil War, this new updated edition also serves as an invaluable gateway to the rich historical record now available, perfect for virtually anyone who wants to learn more about this tumultuous period in our history.
William L. Barney
William L. Barney
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