Such is the continuing volume of work on the Civil War that we are regularly in need of an authoritative and accessible brief synthesis to keep us up to date with this endlessly fascinating subject. Brooks Simpson meets that need for the 1990s in America's Civil War, a wonderful feat of compression in which he addresses all the great issues of the war in 200 pages of clear and readable prose. Rightly, he puts the military history of the conflict at the center of the picture, but he excels in relating the drama of the war itself to the politics of both Union and Confederacy, to the stresses and strains-and opportunities-of the home front, and to the great issues of emancipation and reconstruction. This book is a fine achievement, and it will be invaluable not only to students but to many other readers-and even Civil War specialists will benefit from its fresh insights.–Peter J. Parish, Cambridge University
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