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: 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: 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: Sep 01, 2017
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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, affirms the enduring relevance of the conflict for America today.
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release date: Sep 29, 2017
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Hallowed Ground: A Walk at Gettysburg
James M. McPherson, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Battle Cry of Freedom, and arguably the finest Civil War historian in the world, walks readers through the Gettysburg battlefield -- the site of the most consequential battle of the Civil War.

In Hallowed Ground, McPherson makes stops at key locations, including Seminary Ridge, the Peach Orchard, Cemetery Hill, and Little Round Top. He reflects on the meaning of the battle, colorfully describes the events of those terrible three days in July 1863, and places the battle and war in the greater context of American and world history.

This is the first illustrated version of this groundbreaking and important book and includes vintage photographs, memorabilia, and maps, as well as full-color photography of the battlefields and historical landmarks as they stand today.

Sidebars written by contemporary soldiers, statesmen, and women of the day, as well as pieces by some of today's best-known historians and writers, add context to this engaging book.
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release date: Mar 01, 1995
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What They Fought For 1861-1865 (Walter Lynwood Fleming Lectures in Southern History, Louisia)
In Battle Cry Of Freedom,  James M. McPherson presented a fascinating, concise  general history of the defining American conflict. With What They Fought For, he focuses his considerable talents on what motivated the individual soldier to fight. In an exceptional and highly original Civil War analysis, McPherson draws on the letters and diaries of nearly one thousand Union and Confederate soldiers, giving voice to the very men who risked their lives in the conflict. His conclusion that most of them felt a keen sense of patriotic and ideological commitment counters the prevailing belief that Civil War soldiers had little or no idea of what they were fighting for. In their letters home and their diaries--neither of which were subject to censorship--these men were able to comment, in writing, on a wide variety of issues connected with their war experience. Their insights show how deeply felt and strongly held their convictions were and reveal far more careful thought on the ideological issues of the war than has previously been thought to be true. Living only eighty years after the signing of the  Declaration of Independence, Civil War soldiers felt the legacy and responsibility entrusted to them by the Founding Fathers to preserve fragile democracy--be it through secession or union--as something worth dying for. In What They  Fought For, McPherson takes individual voices  and places them in the great and terrible choir of a country divided against itself. The result is both an impressive scholarly tour de force and a lively, highly accessible account of the sentiments  of both Northern and Southern soldiers during the national trauma of the Civil War.
release date: Nov 06, 2003
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The Illustrated Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era
Winner of the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for History and a New York Times Bestseller, Battle Cry of Freedom is universally recognized as the definitive account of the Civil War. It was hailed in The New York Times as "historical writing of the highest order." The Washington Post called it "the finest single volume on the war and its background." And The Los Angeles Times wrote that "of the 50,000 books written on the Civil War, it is the finest compression of that national paroxysm ever fitted between two covers."
Now available in a splendid new edition is The Illustrated Battle Cry of Freedom. Boasting some seven hundred pictures, including a hundred and fifty color images and twenty-four full-color maps, here is the ultimate gift book for everyone interested in American history. McPherson has selected all the illustrations, including rare contemporary photographs, period cartoons, etchings, woodcuts, and paintings, carefully choosing those that best illuminate the narrative. More important, he has written extensive captions (some 35,000 words in all, virtually a book in themselves), many of which offer genuinely new information and interpretations that significantly enhance the text. The text itself, streamlined by McPherson, remains a fast-paced narrative that brilliantly captures two decades of contentious American history, from the Mexican War to Lee's surrender at Appomattox. The reader will find a truly masterful chronicle of the war itself--the battles, the strategic maneuvering on both sides, the politics, and the personalities--as well as McPherson's thoughtful commentary 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.
A must-have purchase for the legions of Civil War buffs, The Illustrated Battle Cry of Freedom is both a spectacularly beautiful volume and the definitive account of the most important conflict in our nation's history.
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release date: Feb 24, 2015
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Cengage Advantage Books: Liberty, Equality, Power: A History of the American People, Volume 1: To 1877
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 21, 2010
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The American Vision
New Page 1

THE AMERICAN VISION

HISTORY BY RENOWNED HISTORIANS FOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS ALSO AVAILABLE AS A MODERN HISTORY EDITION, THE AMERICAN REPUBLIC SINCE 1877

The American Vision boasts an exceptional author team with specialized expertise in Colonial, Civil War, 20th Century, and Civil Rights history. The full panorama of American History comes alive through their vivid and accurate re-telling, and the participation of the National Geographic ensures that the program’s new maps, charts, and graphs are correct to the last detail.

Features

• Glencoe’s one-of-a-kind content reading strategy makes it easier for your students to become active, critical readers. It includes:
• Reading Intervention Tools
• Graphic Organizers in section openers and assessments
• Prior Knowledge Activators in every lesson
• In-text Reading Checks
• Reading and Writing Prompts
• National Geographic maps add dimension to the narrative and give students an understanding of the interrelationships of places and events.
• Our industry-leading technology allows us to bring you The American Vision in three formats―printed textbook, interactive multimedia online edition, and StudentWorks Plus which is a CD-ROM edition with workbooks and Student Presentation Builder. You and your students have access to the program’s vast resources whenever and however you wish.

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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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