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Cover for The Civil War

The Civil War

The First Year Told by Those Who Lived It (LOA #212) (Library of America: The Civil War Collection #1)

Brooks D. Simpson (Editor), Stephen W. Sears (Editor), Sheehan-Dean Aaron (Editor)


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The first volume in a four-volume series on the American Civil War—featuring first-hand writings from Ulysses S. Grant, Robert E. Lee, Abraham Lincoln, and more
After 150 years the Civil War is still 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 gathers 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 November 1860 and ending in January 1862 with the appointment of Edwin M. Stanton as secretary of war, this volume presents writing by figures well-known—Ulysses S. Grant, Robert E. Lee, Mary Chesnut, Frederick Douglass, and Lincoln himself among them—and less familiar, like proslavery 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. Includes headnotes, a chronology of events, biographical and explanatory endnotes, full-color hand-drawn endpaper maps, and an index. Companion volumes will gather writings from the second, third, and final years of the conflict.

LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation’s literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America’s best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.

Library of America, 9781598530889, 640pp.

Publication Date: February 3, 2011

About the Author

Brooks D. Simpson, editor, is Foundation Professor of History at Arizona State University. He is the author of Let Us Have Peace: Ulysses S. Grant and the Politics of War and Reconstruction, 1861–1868 and Ulysses S. Grant: Triumph over Adversity, 1822–1865, and the co-editor of Sherman’s Civil War: Selected Correspondence of William T. Sherman, 1860–1865.

Stephen W. Sears, volume editor, is the author of Landscape Turned Red: The Battle of AntietamGeorge B. McClellan: The Young NapoleonTo the Gates of Richmond: The Peninsula Campaign; ChancellorsvilleControversies and Commanders; 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.