Best Selling Books by James M McPherson

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release date: Dec 11, 2003
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Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era
Filled with fresh interpretations and information, puncturing old myths and challenging new ones, Battle Cry of Freedom will unquestionably become the standard one-volume history of the Civil War.

James McPherson's fast-paced narrative fully integrates the political, social, and military events that crowded the two decades from the outbreak of one war in Mexico to the ending of another at Appomattox. Packed with drama and analytical insight, the book vividly recounts the momentous episodes that preceded the Civil War--the Dred Scott decision, the Lincoln-Douglas debates, John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry--and then moves into a masterful chronicle of the war itself--the battles, the strategic maneuvering on both sides, the politics, and the personalities. Particularly notable are McPherson's new views on such matters as the slavery expansion issue in the 1850s, the origins of the Republican Party, the causes of secession, internal dissent and anti-war opposition in the North and the South, and the reasons for the Union's victory.

The book's title refers to the sentiments that informed both the Northern and Southern views of the conflict: the South seceded in the name of that freedom of self-determination and self-government for which their fathers had fought in 1776, while the North stood fast in defense of the Union founded by those fathers as the bulwark of American liberty. Eventually, the North had to grapple with the underlying cause of the war--slavery--and adopt a policy of emancipation as a second war aim. This "new birth of freedom," as Lincoln called it, constitutes the proudest legacy of America's bloodiest conflict.

This authoritative volume makes sense of that vast and confusing "second American Revolution" we call the Civil War, a war that transformed a nation and expanded our heritage of liberty.
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release date: Mar 12, 2015
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The War That Forged a Nation: Why the Civil War Still Matters
More than 140 years ago, Mark Twain observed that the Civil War had "uprooted institutions that were centuries old, changed the politics of a people, transformed the social life of half the country, and wrought so profoundly upon the entire national character that the influence cannot be measured short of two or three generations." In fact, five generations have passed, and Americans are still trying to measure the influence of the immense fratricidal conflict that nearly tore the nation apart.

In The War that Forged a Nation, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian James M. McPherson considers why the Civil War remains so deeply embedded in our national psyche and identity. The drama and tragedy of the war, from its scope and size--an estimated death toll of 750,000, far more than the rest of the country's wars combined--to the nearly mythical individuals involved--Abraham Lincoln, Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson--help explain why the Civil War remains a topic of interest. But the legacy of the war extends far beyond historical interest or scholarly attention. Here, McPherson draws upon his work over the past fifty years to illuminate the war's continuing resonance across many dimensions of American life.

Touching upon themes that include the war's causes and consequences; the naval war; slavery and its abolition; and Lincoln as commander in chief, McPherson ultimately proves the impossibility of understanding the issues of our own time unless we first understand their roots in the era of the Civil War. From racial inequality and conflict between the North and South to questions of state sovereignty or the role of government in social change--these issues, McPherson shows, are as salient and controversial today as they were in the 1860s.

Thoughtful, provocative, and authoritative, The War that Forged a Nation looks anew at the reasons America's civil war has remained a subject of intense interest for the past century and a half, and affirms the enduring relevance of the conflict for America today.
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release date: Aug 01, 1997
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Lee
Douglas Southall Freeman’s Pulitzer Prize–winning biography of Robert E. Lee was greeted with critical acclaim when it was first published in 1935. This reissue chronicles all the major aspects and highlights of the general’s military career, from his stunning accomplishments in the Mexican War to the humbling surrender at Appomattox.

More than just a military leader, Lee embodied all the conflicts of his time. The son of a Revolutionary War hero and related by marriage to George Washington, he was the product of young America’s elite. When Abraham Lincoln offered him command of the United States Army, however, he choose to lead the confederate ranks, convinced that his first loyalty lay with his native Virginia. Although a member of the planter class, he felt that slavery was “a moral and political evil.” Aloof and somber, he nevertheless continually inspired his men by his deep concern for their personal welfare.

Freeman’s biography is the full portrait of a great American—a distinguished, scholarly, yet eminently readable classic that has linked Freeman to Lee as irrevocably as Boswell to Dr. Johnson.
release date: Nov 05, 1998
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For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War
General John A. Wickham, commander of the famous 101st Airborne Division in the 1970s and subsequently Army Chief of Staff, once visited Antietam battlefield. Gazing at Bloody Lane where, in 1862, several Union assaults were brutally repulsed before they finally broke through, he marveled, "You couldn't get American soldiers today to make an attack like that." Why did those men risk certain death, over and over again, through countless bloody battles and four long, awful years ? Why did the conventional wisdom -- that soldiers become increasingly cynical and disillusioned as war progresses -- not hold true in the Civil War?

It is to this question--why did they fight--that James McPherson, America's preeminent Civil War historian, now turns his attention. He shows that, contrary to what many scholars believe, the soldiers of the Civil War remained powerfully convinced of the ideals for which they fought throughout the conflict. Motivated by duty and honor, and often by religious faith, these men wrote frequently of their firm belief in the cause for which they fought: the principles of liberty, freedom, justice, and patriotism. Soldiers on both sides harkened back to the Founding Fathers, and the ideals of the American Revolution. They fought to defend their country, either the Union--"the best Government ever made"--or the Confederate states, where their very homes and families were under siege. And they fought to defend their honor and manhood. "I should not lik to go home with the name of a couhard," one Massachusetts private wrote, and another private from Ohio said, "My wife would sooner hear of my death than my disgrace." Even after three years of bloody battles, more than half of the Union soldiers reenlisted voluntarily. "While duty calls me here and my country demands my services I should be willing to make the sacrifice," one man wrote to his protesting parents. And another soldier said simply, "I still love my country."

McPherson draws on more than 25,000 letters and nearly 250 private diaries from men on both sides. Civil War soldiers were among the most literate soldiers in history, and most of them wrote home frequently, as it was the only way for them to keep in touch with homes that many of them had left for the first time in their lives. Significantly, their letters were also uncensored by military authorities, and are uniquely frank in their criticism and detailed in their reports of marches and battles, relations between officers and men, political debates, and morale. For Cause and Comrades lets these soldiers tell their own stories in their own words to create an account that is both deeply moving and far truer than most books on war.

Battle Cry of Freedom, McPherson's Pulitzer Prize-winning account of the Civil War, was a national bestseller that Hugh Brogan, in The New York Times, called "history writing of the highest order." For Cause and Comrades deserves similar accolades, as McPherson's masterful prose and the soldiers' own words combine to create both an important book on an often-overlooked aspect of our bloody Civil War, and a powerfully moving account of the men who fought it.
release date: Feb 25, 2015
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Cengage Advantage Books: Liberty, Equality, Power: A History of the American People, Volume 2: Since 1863
Developed to meet the demand for a low-cost, high-quality history book, this economically priced version of LIBERTY, EQUALITY, POWER, 7th Edition offers the complete narrative while limiting the number of features, photos, and maps. All volumes feature a paperback, two-color format that appeals to those seeking a comprehensive, trade-sized history text. A highly respected, balanced, and thoroughly modern approach to U.S. History, LIBERTY, EQUALITY, POWER uses these three themes in a unique approach to show how the United States was transformed, in a relatively short time, from a land inhabited by hunter-gatherer and agricultural Native American societies into the most powerful industrial nation on earth. This approach helps readers understand not only the impact of the notions of liberty and equality, which are often associated with the American story, but also how dominant and subordinate groups have affected and been affected by the ever-shifting balance of power. The text integrates the best of recent social and cultural scholarship into a political story, offering readers a comprehensive and complete understanding of American history.
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release date: Jan 01, 2015
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Liberty, Equality, Power: A History of the American People, Volume 2: Since 1863
Understanding the past helps us navigate the present and future. This book teaches readers about American history and exposes them to movies and other forms of popular culture that tell the stories of the nation's past. A highly respected and thoroughly modern approach to U.S. history, LIBERTY, EQUALITY, POWER, Seventh Edition, shows how the United States was transformed, in a relatively short time, from a land inhabited by hunter-gatherer and agricultural Native American societies into the most powerful industrial nation on Earth. This approach helps readers understand the impact of the notions of liberty and equality, which are often associated with the American story, and recognize how dominant and subordinate groups have affected and been affected by the ever-shifting balance of power.
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release date: Sep 29, 2009
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Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief
The Pulitzer Prize?winning author reveals how Lincoln won the Civil War and invented the role of commander in chief as we know it

As we celebrate the bicentennial of Lincoln?s birth, this study by preeminent, bestselling Civil War historian James M. McPherson provides a rare, fresh take on one of the most enigmatic figures in American history. Tried by War offers a revelatory (and timely) portrait of leadership during the greatest crisis our nation has ever endured. Suspenseful and inspiring, this is the story of how Lincoln, with almost no previous military experience before entering the White House, assumed the powers associated with the role of commander in chief, and through his strategic insight and will to fight changed the course of the war and saved the Union.
release date: Oct 01, 2002
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Fields of Fury: The American Civil War
Pulitzer Prize award-winning historian James M. McPherson has written for young readers a stirring account of the greatest conflict to happen on our nation's soil, the Civil War, bringing to life the tragic struggle that divided not only a nation, but also friends and family. From the initial Confederate attack on Fort Sumter, to the devastating loss of life at Shiloh as Ulysses S. Grant led the Union to unexpected victory, to the brilliance of Stonewall Jackson's campaign at Shenandoah, to General Pickett's famous charge at Gettysburg, to the Union's triumph at Appo-mattox Court House, Fields of Fury details the war that helped shape us as a nation.
Also included are personal anecdotes from the soldiers at the battlefront and the civilians at home, as well as profiles of historical luminaries such as Robert E. Lee, Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, and Ulysses S. Grant. McPherson also explores the varied roles that women played during the war, healthcare on the battlefield, and the demise of slavery.
McPherson's narrative is highlighted with black-and-white photographs taken by Civil War photographers Mathew Brady and Timothy O'Sullivan, period oil paintings, and key campaign and battlefield maps, that make Fields of Fury the consummate book on the American Civil War for kids.
release date: Jan 01, 2015
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Liberty, Equality, Power: A History of the American People
Understanding the past helps us navigate the present and future. This book teaches readers about American history and exposes them to movies and other forms of popular culture that tell the stories of the nation's past. A highly respected and thoroughly modern approach to U.S. history, LIBERTY, EQUALITY, POWER, Seventh Edition, shows how the United States was transformed, in a relatively short time, from a land inhabited by hunter-gatherer and agricultural Native American societies into the most powerful industrial nation on Earth. This approach helps readers understand the impact of the notions of liberty and equality, which are often associated with the American story, and recognize how dominant and subordinate groups have affected and been affected by the ever-shifting balance of power.
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release date: Feb 01, 2009
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Abraham Lincoln
Best-selling author James M. McPherson follows the son of Thomas Lincoln and Nancy Hanks from his early years in Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois, to his highly successful law career, his marriage to Mary Todd, and his one term in Congress. We witness his leadership of the Republican anti-slavery movement, his famous debates with Stephen A. Douglas (a long acquaintance and former rival for the hand of Mary Todd), and his emergence as a candidate for president in 1860. Following Lincoln's election to the presidency, McPherson describes his masterful role as Commander in Chief during the Civil War, the writing of the Emancipation Proclamation, and his assassination by John Wilkes Booth. The book also discusses his lasting legacy and why he remains a quintessential American hero two hundred years after his birth, while an annotated bibliography permits easy access to further scholarship. With his ideal short account of Lincoln, McPherson provides a compelling biography of a man of humble origins who preserved our nation during its greatest catastrophe and ended the scourge of slavery.
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