The Civil War: The First Year Told by Those Who Lived It
Over 120 pieces by more than sixty participants
“As the testimony accumulates, a profound portrait of a nation in crisis emerges, conjuring the epic quality of the conflict and its consequences as almost nothing before it. It is both mesmerizing and deeply troubling, and it will forever deepen the way you see this central chapter in our history. And while this is only the inaugural installment in the series, it does not seem the least bit rash to call this collage of testimony a masterpiece.”—Newsweek
“The emphasis on primary sources goes a long way toward answering questions that posterity has debated about the Civil War during the past 150 years.”—Bookforum (Daniel Walker Howe, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of What Hath God Wrought)
Read an exclusive interview with volume editor Brooks D. Simpson (PDF, 61 K)
Read an excerpt: Catherine Edmondston in Charleston as reinforcements arrive for Fort Sumter, January 1861 (PDF, 38 K)
Read an excerpt: Robert E. Lee’s letter to his son voicing qualms about the dissolution of the Union, January 1861 (PDF, 26 K)
E-book edition: The Civil War: The First Year is available for the Kindle, Nook, iPad (through iTunes), Kobo, Google Books, and Sony Reader.
After 150 years the Civil War still holds a central place in American history and self-understanding. It is our greatest national drama, at once heroic, tragic, and epic—our Iliad, but also our Bible, a story of sin and judgment, suffering and despair, death and resurrection in a “new birth of freedom.” Drawn from letters, diaries, speeches, articles, poems, songs, military reports, legal opinions, and memoirs, The Civil War: The First Year brings together over 120 pieces by more than sixty participants to create a unique firsthand narrative of this great historical crisis.
Beginning on the eve of Lincoln’s election in 1860 and ending in January 1862 with the appointment of Edwin M. Stanton as secretary of war, signaling a new energy and determination to the Union war effort, this volume collects writing by figures well-known—Ulysses S. Grant, Robert E. Lee, Mary Chesnut, Frederick Douglass, and Lincoln himself among them—and less familiar, like pro-slavery advocate J.D.B. DeBow, Lieutenants Charles B. Haydon of the 2nd Michigan Infantry and Henry Livermore Abbott of the 20th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment, and plantation mistresses Catherine Edmondston of North Carolina and Kate Stone of Mississippi. Together, the selections provide a powerful sense of the immediacy, uncertainty, and urgency of events as the nation was torn asunder. Secessionist appeals by Georgia Governor Joseph E. Brown and Alabama legislator Stephen F. Hale give voice to the intense racial fears that helped drive the South toward disunion; Union corporal Samuel J. English and Confederate surgeon Lunsford P. Yandell evoke the shock, confusion, and horror of battle in Virginia and Missouri; memoirist Sallie Brock candidly records the impact of war on Richmond society; and Sam Mitchell recounts his liberation from slavery when the South Carolina Sea Islands fell to Union soldiers.
The Civil War: The First Year includes headnotes, a chronology of events, biographical and explanatory endnotes, endpaper maps, and an index. Companion volumes will gather writings from the second, third, and final years of the conflict.
Brooks D. Simpson, editor, is Professor of History at Arizona State University, author of Ulysses S. Grant: Triumph Over Adversity, 1822–1865, and co-editor of William T. Sherman’s wartime correspondence; Stephen W. Sears, editor, is the biographer of George McClellan and author of acclaimed histories of the Peninsula Campaign, Antietam, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg; Aaron Sheehan-Dean, editor, is Associate Professor of History at the University of North Florida and author of Why Confederates Fought: Family and Nation in Civil War Virginia and The Concise Historical Atlas of the U.S. Civil War.
List price: $37.50
Web store price: $32.00
Free shipping in the U.S.
Phone orders: 1-800-964-5778
Request product #202277
Subscription Account Holders: Buy the cream-slipcased edition at the Customer Service Center.
Booksellers/Libraries: LOA books are distributed worldwide by the Penguin Group.