Battle Cry of Freedom by James McPherson

Battle Cry of Freedom by James McPherson published by Oxford University Press (1988)

My favorite history of the Civil War is Allen Nevins’ Ordeal of the Union, an epic masterpiece even if it is a bit dated. Unfortunately, at eight volumes in length this not likely to be the first choice of many modern readers. When I started writing my web series The Immigrants’ Civil War, I wanted to re-read one of the classic overviews of the war. I did not have the three months it would take to re-read Nevins, and I’ve never been that fond of Shelby Foote’s three volumes which I read soon after he starred in Ken Burns’ Civil War. I decided on James McPherson’s one-volume history and settled in to the pleasures of a book of challenging analysis set within a flawlessly flowing narrative.

The two decades since this Pulitzer Prize-winning history were written have only confirmed McPherson’s sagacity. The book blends a thorough understanding of the economic and political underpinnings of the war with insightful descriptions of military campaigns.

And it is a great read!

About Patrick Young

Program Director of the Central American Refugee Center (CARECEN) and Supervising Attorney for the Westchester Hispanic Coalition. Blogs for Long Island Wins and New York State Immigrant Action Fund
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1 Response to Battle Cry of Freedom by James McPherson

  1. Thomas Paul says:

    Read it when it came out and thoroughly enjoyed it. Definitely deserved the Pulitzer Prize.

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