Blood Brothers: A Short History of the Civil War

Frank E. Vandiver, Author
Frank E. Vandiver, Author Texas A&M University Press $27.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-89096-523-8
Paperback - 209 pages - 978-0-89096-524-5
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Although this fast-paced history of the American Civil War offers no new facts or insights, it is a first-rate synopsis of the conflict. Vandiver's ( Black Jack ) discussion of the different tasks facing Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis (national preservation vs. nation-building) and the two presidents' different leadership styles is interesting and well done. Likewise his brief but evocative depiction of the tragic Battle of Antietam and of how Lincoln used the ``threadbare promise'' of this Pyrrhic victory to issue the Emancipation Proclamation. This volume doesn't convey the enormity of the Civil War, and isn't rich in the details that buffs enjoy. Yet Vandiver uses his broad-brush approach to suggest the epic sweep of events. He has a genuine gift for condensing complex issues and acts into a few pages, and his analysis of how the war for the Union evolved into a glorious crusade to end slavery is admirable. In the end he manages to substantiate his chief claim: that the Civil War changed the United States forever in incalculable ways, economic, political and social. Photos. (Oct.)
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