The Whirlwind of War: Voices of the Storm, 1861-1865

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9780060930929: The Whirlwind of War: Voices of the Storm, 1861-1865

An intensely dramatic and intimate portrayal of the people, events,influences and consequences of the American Civil War, The Whirlwind of War builds on the great themes and follows many of the important figures that were introduced in The Approaching Fury.

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Review:

The middle book in an anticipated trilogy, The Whirlwind of War is a unique study of the Civil War. Oates recounts the great struggle through a series of first-person monologues told in the voices of prominent figures such as Abraham Lincoln, Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, William Tecumseh Sherman, Mary Boykin Chestnut, Ulysses S. Grant, Frederick Douglass, John Wilkes Booth, and others. This original narrative technique brings a kind of freshness to an old and familiar story. It seems as if the characters speak directly to the reader; and Oates, an accomplished historian and biographer, is scrupulous about sticking as close to the historical record as he can. The book's one weakness is that it doesn't deliver a totally comprehensive telling of the Civil War despite its length of more than 700 pages. But the flip side is its strength: the way it helps readers understand the motives, perceptions, and behavior of the Civil War's most important actors. Sometimes it seems like there are too many books written on the Civil War. Oates nonetheless provides a welcome contribution to the field. --John Miller

About the Author:

Stephen B. Oates is the author of sixteen books, including The Approaching Fury; With Malice Toward None: A Life of Abraham Lincoln and Let the Trumpet Sound: A Life of Martin Luther King, Jr., the latter two books winning, respectively, the Christopher Award and the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Book Award. They have been translated into several languages.

Oates was a consultant and "talking head" in Ken Burns's Civil War series on PBS, and is a recipient of the Nevins-Freeman Award of the Chicago Civil War Round Table for lifetime achievement in the field of Civil War studies. A teacher at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, he is now writing the concluding book of the Voices of Storm trilogy, about the years of Reconstruction, 1865-1877.

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