©1960 by American Heritage, Inc.; (P)1991 by Blackstone Audiobooks
"[The Civil War] is everything we have come to expect from the practiced hand of Bruce Catton: scholarly, judicious, clear, and unfailingly interesting. It would be difficult to find a better introduction to the Civil War than this book."
This is a fast paced book that covers all the main areas required to get a good understanding of the military working of the American Civil War. The reader of this book is excellent and it really helps. I listened to it all within a few days and found I retained most the information read to me (a rare treat for me!). If this is your thing, this is your book!
I enjoyed this book. It gave an excellent overall account of the causes and course of the war. It never got bogged down in the details of the battles but concentrated on the tactical and strategic significance. I was concerned at first that as the book was written 50 years ago that it may seem dated, but never had that feeling when listening to it.
"The American Civil War"
Having visited the Civil War battle ground to the NE of Atlanta on my last visit to the States I thought I could learn more through this book.
I found the information contained within to be excellent and very thorough, spoiled only by an inferior sound quality that at times had an incredible amount of low frequency bass boost.
If you are able to put up with this annoying inconvenience, the listener is well rewarded.
"good book, fair sound"
The book was great, but I found the sound a bit hard to understand at times (fuzzy). Not one of their better quality recordings. (Listened to the highest quality version on an iPod; never had this problem before.)
The reader also had an unfortunate "professor-like" voice that didn't help.
"Great for general interest"
This is a very good basic history of the Civil War. I suspect that it would leave most hard-core Civil War buffs a little cold, because it does not contain a lot of blow-by-blow narration of each battle, nor is there minute analysis of the military tactics. One might say that this is the war as Lincoln would have seen it rather than as Grant or McClellan or Lee did.
"Excellent overview of the Civil War"
This book provides an excellent overview of the Civil War. Adults seeking a relatively quick summary of personalities, battles, and social, economic, and political forces would do well to listen to this book. The pace of the book gives the listener a little taste of everything without dwelling too long on any one event. I was especially thankful that this book did not included detailed battle descriptions (troop movements, charges, etc), though overviews of important battles were included. With regard to the narrator, I think the Audible clip is not representative of the tone he takes through the entire book. I thought the narration was fine if a little lacking in inflection at first. I highly recommend the audio version of this book.
"Great introduction to the civil war"
Much less detailed than the epic tombs from Foote and McPherson, and Catton himself. This is a great macro level overview of the war but I found his more interpretive discussions of the soldier and post war attitude also compelling. The story he weaved was much less technical than other authors.
"Great detail for such a broad subject"
I really enjoyed this book. It was well organized with a surprising amount of detail for attempting to cover the entirety of the civil war. It does a good job of describing the events leading up to the war and the politics behind the scenes, as well as the personalities of the commanders. The final battles seemed a little abbreviated to me. I did not care for the delivery of the narrator as much. It was a very plodding reading and overly articulated. But I would wholeheartedly recommend this book for someone who wants the complete history in one book.
"Excellent! Excellent! Excellent!"
A 5-star book in my opinion. A truly realistic and sensitive and meaningful book about the Civil War. The narration was outstanding. Good understanding of both North and South's views. Highly recommended.
"Great book - terrible reader - and a surprise..."
I didn't realize at the time I downloaded this recording that the author, Bruce Catton, was a Pulitzer winner for another one of his Civil War works ("A Stillness at Appomattox"). He was an expert in the war and this book is excellent. I did though find it difficult to follow the military movements and geographical references so I went looking for a pictorial history to supplement this book. Quite by accident, at a used book store, I stumbled upon The American Heritage Picture History of the Civil War. It turns out that the narrative is the text for this audio recording!
"Totally pro-southern account"
I was looking for a one-volume intro to the civil war, and sadly "Battle Cry of Freedom" does not seem to be available in audible. So I tried this one. I wish another reviewer had mentioned that this is a one-sided account. I could give endless examples but I will just summarize: Every northerner is described in completely negative terms. Southerners are described in a much broader range from neutral to glowing. Slavery is barely mentioned, and then mainly as objectionable to European allies.
I know some people may only want to read pro-southern accounts, but let's at least let people know up front before they spend their money that this is what they're getting.
"Get another narrator."
I've read most of Catton's histories of The War Between the States, and those of Shellby Foots' also. Civil War history is fascinating; but the narrator ruins this one to the point that I probably won't go any further in listening to it, and that has been only a few pages. Too bad. I wasted my money, once again.
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