Best Selling Books by James M McPherson

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release date: Feb 25, 1988
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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.
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: Jun 04, 1992
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Abraham Lincoln and the Second American Revolution
James McPherson has emerged as one of America's finest historians. Battle Cry of Freedom, his Pulitzer Prize-winning account of the Civil War, was a national bestseller that Hugh Brogan, in The New York Times Book Review, called "history writing of the highest order." In that volume, McPherson gathered in the broad sweep of events, the political, social, and cultural forces at work during the Civil War era. Now, in Abraham Lincoln and the Second American Revolution, he offers a series of thoughtful and engaging essays on aspects of Lincoln and the war that have rarely been discussed in depth.

McPherson again displays his keen insight and sterling prose as he examines several critical themes in American history. He looks closely at the President's role as Commander-in-Chief of the Union forces, showing how Lincoln forged a national military strategy for victory. He explores the importance of Lincoln's great rhetorical skills, uncovering how--through parables and figurative language--he was uniquely able to communicate both the purpose of the war and a new meaning of liberty to the people of the North. In another section, McPherson examines the Civil War as a Second American Revolution, describing how the Republican Congress elected in 1860 passed an astonishing blitz of new laws (rivaling the first hundred days of the New Deal), and how the war not only destroyed the social structure of the old South, but radically altered the balance of power in America, ending 70 years of Southern power in the national government.

The Civil War was the single most transforming and defining experience in American history, and Abraham Lincoln remains the most important figure in the pantheon of our mythology. These graceful essays, written by one of America's leading historians, offer fresh and unusual perspectives on both.
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release date: Jan 01, 2010
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Ordeal By Fire: The Civil War and Reconstruction
Ordeal by Fire blends the most up-to-date scholarship with interpretations based on decades of teaching, research, and writing, to tell an important story--that of the American Civil War and Reconstruction. Written by a leading Civil War historian and Pulitzer Prize winner, this text describes the social, economic, political, and ideological conflicts that led to a unique, tragic, and transitional event in American history. The fourth edition welcomes the addition of coauthor James Hogue of University of North Carolina, Charlotte. Hogue brings his Reconstruction expertise to the third section of the book, bringing more up-to-date scholarship and interpretations to the story of repairing a nation.
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release date: May 13, 2003
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Hallowed Ground: A Walk at Gettysburg (Crown Journeys)
James M. McPherson, the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Battle Cry of Freedom, and arguably the finest Civil War historian in the world, walks us through the site of the bloodiest and perhaps most consequential battle ever fought by Americans: the Battle of Gettysburg.

The events that occurred at Gettysburg are etched into our collective memory, as they served to change the course of the Civil War and with it the course of history. More than any other place in the United States, Gettysburg is indeed hallowed ground. It’s no surprise that it is one of the nation’s most visited sites (nearly two million annual visitors), attracting tourists, military buffs, and students of American history.

McPherson, who has led countless tours of Gettysburg over the years, makes stops at Seminary Ridge, the Peach Orchard, Cemetery Hill, and Little Round Top, among other key locations. He reflects on the meaning of the battle, describes the events of those terrible three days in July 1863, and places the struggle in the greater context of American and world history. Along the way, he intersperses stories of his own encounters with the place over several decades, as well as debunking several popular myths about the battle itself.

What brought those 165,000 soldiers—75,000 Confederate, 90,000 Union—to Gettysburg? Why did they lock themselves in such a death grip across these once bucolic fields until 11,000 of them were killed or mortally wounded, another 29,000 were wounded and survived, and about 10,000 were “missing”—mostly captured? What was accomplished by all of this carnage? Join James M. McPherson on a walk across this hallowed ground as he be encompasses the depth of meaning and historical impact of a place that helped define the nation’s character.

“[I]n a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our power to add or detract.”
—President Abraham Lincoln
release date: Oct 12, 2009
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This Mighty Scourge: Perspectives on the Civil War
The author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Battle Cry of Freedom and the New York Times bestsellers Crossroads of Freedom and Tried by War, among many other award-winning books, James M. McPherson is America's preeminent Civil War historian. In this collection of provocative and illuminating essays, McPherson offers fresh insight into many of the enduring questions about one of the defining moments in our nation's history.

McPherson sheds light on topics large and small, from the average soldier's avid love of newspapers to the postwar creation of the mystique of a Lost Cause in the South. Readers will find insightful pieces on such intriguing figures as Harriet Tubman, John Brown, Jesse James, and William Tecumseh Sherman, and on such vital issues as Confederate military strategy, the failure of peace negotiations to end the war, and the realities and myths of the Confederacy. This Mighty Scourge includes several never-before-published essays--pieces on General Robert E. Lee's goals in the Gettysburg campaign, on Lincoln and Grant in the Vicksburg campaign, and on Lincoln as Commander-in-Chief. All of the essays have been updated and revised to give the volume greater thematic coherence and continuity, so that it can be read in sequence as an interpretive history of the war and its meaning for America and the world.

Combining the finest scholarship with luminous prose, and packed with new information and fresh ideas, this book brings together the most recent thinking by the nation's leading authority on the Civil War.
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release date: Jan 01, 2013
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2: Liberty, Equality, Power: A History of the American People, Volume II: Since 1863, Concise Edition
How did America transform itself, 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? You'll find out in LIBERTY, EQUALITY, POWER: A HISTORY OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, CONCISE Sixth Edition. The authors tell this story through the lens of three major themes: liberty, equality, and power. You'll learn not only the impact of the notions of liberty and equality but also how dominant and subordinate groups have affected and been affected by the ever-shifting balance of power.
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release date: May 20, 2015
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Co. "Aytch": The First Tennessee Regiment or a Side Show to the Big Show: The Complete Illustrated Edition

Read this classic memoir from the American Civil War, complete with images and other perspectives, for an enriching, unforgettable experience.

This is the most famous and best-selling memoir of the American Civil War, now fully illustrated for the first time.

Samuel Watkins faithfully served throughout the duration of the Civil War. Of the 120 men who enlisted in "Company H" in 1861, Sam Watkins was one of only seven alive when General Joseph E. Johnston's Army of Tennessee surrendered to General William Tecumseh Sherman in North Carolina in April 1865. Of the 3,200 men who fought in the First Tennessee, only 65 were left to be paroled on that day.

Soon after the war ended, Watkins began writing his memoir, entitled Co. "Aytch": The First Tennessee Regiment or a Side Show of the Big Show, which is heralded by many historians as one of the best war memoirs written by a common soldier of the field. Sam's writing style is quite engaging and skillfully captures the pride, misery, glory, and horror experienced by the common foot soldier.

This beautifully illustrated edition of Co. "Aytch" includes writings from great Civil War generals, such as James Longstreet and William T. Sherman, as well as some of today's best contemporary historians, such as Doris Kearns Goodwin, James M. McPherson, Allan Nevins, and Bruce Catton, all of whom won the Pulitzer Prize for history. It is also richly illustrated with photos and illustrations from the Library of Congress, the George Eastman House, the National Parks Service, many of the country's major Civil War collections, and the National War College.

release date: Oct 07, 2014
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Embattled Rebel: Jefferson Davis as Commander in Chief
From the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Battle Cry of Freedom, a powerful new reckoning with Jefferson Davis as military commander of the Confederacy

History has not been kind to Jefferson Davis. His cause went down in disastrous defeat and left the South impoverished for generations. If that cause had succeeded, it would have torn the United States in two and preserved the institution of slavery. Many Americans in Davis’s own time and in later generations considered him an incompetent leader, if not a traitor. Not so, argues James M. McPherson. In Embattled Rebel, McPherson shows us that Davis might have been on the wrong side of history, but it is too easy to diminish him because of his cause’s failure. In order to understand the Civil War and its outcome, it is essential to give Davis his due as a military leader and as the president of an aspiring Confederate nation.

Davis did not make it easy on himself. His subordinates and enemies alike considered him difficult, egotistical, and cold. He was gravely ill throughout much of the war, often working from home and even from his sickbed. Nonetheless, McPherson argues, Davis shaped and articulated the principal policy of the Confederacy with clarity and force: the quest for independent nationhood. Although he had not been a fire-breathing secessionist, once he committed himself to a Confederate nation he never deviated from this goal. In a sense, Davis was the last Confederate left standing in 1865.

As president of the Confederacy, Davis devoted most of his waking hours to military strategy and operations, along with Commander Robert E. Lee, and delegated the economic and diplomatic functions of strategy to his subordinates. Davis was present on several battlefields with Lee and even took part in some tactical planning; indeed, their close relationship stands as one of the great military-civilian partnerships in history.

Most critical appraisals of Davis emphasize his choices in and management of generals rather than his strategies, but no other chief executive in American history exercised such tenacious hands-on influence in the shaping of military strategy. And while he was imprisoned for two years after the Confederacy’s surrender awaiting a trial for treason that never came, and lived for another twenty-four years, he never once recanted the cause for which he had fought and lost. McPherson gives us Jefferson Davis as the commander in chief he really was, showing persuasively that while Davis did not win the war for the South, he was scarcely responsible for losing it.
release date: Sep 07, 2020
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Discovering Our Past - A History of the United States, Early Years (With additional information on Florida)
Discovering Our Past - A History of the United States, Early Years (With additional information on Florida)
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