Publisher description for The American Civil War : a hands-on history / Christopher J. Olsen.


Bibliographic record and links to related information available from the Library of Congress catalog


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Christopher J. Olsen’s The American Civil War is the ideal introduction to secession, war, and Reconstruction. Beginning in 1850 with the mounting political pressures to split the Union, through the four years of bloodshed and waning Confederate fortunes, to Lincoln’s assassination and the rise and fall of radical Reconstruction, The American Civil War covers the entire sectional conflict.

It is The American Civil War ’s ability to put the reader in the middle of unfolding events that distinguishes it. Whether it was the timing of John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry, the serendipitous discovery of General Lee’s plans (found wrapped around three cigars) before the battle of Antietam, or the conspiracy of assassins that murdered Lincoln, Olsen’s deft narrative reminds readers that chance and opportunities, missed and acted on, worked within larger political, economic, and social trends to dictate events. Select historical documents following each chapter further allow the reader to experience the war in “real time,” putting him in the middle of the unfolding drama.



Library of Congress subject headings for this publication:
United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865.
Reconstruction (U.S. history, 1865-1877)