Fateful Lightning by Allen C. Guelzo
A New History of the Civil War and Reconstruction

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Guelzo fleshes out the war record with a host of facts engagingly presented.
-NY Times


The Civil War is the greatest trauma ever experienced by the American nation, a four-year paroxysm of violence that left in its wake more than 600,000 dead, more than 2 million refugees, and the destruction (in modern dollars) of more than $700 billion in property. The war also sparked some of the most heroic moments in American history and enshrined a galaxy of American heroes. Above all, it permanently ended the practice of slavery and proved, in an age of resurgent monarchies, that a liberal democracy could survive the most frightful of challenges.

In Fateful Lightning, two-time Lincoln Prize-winning historian Allen C. Guelzo offers a marvelous portrait of the Civil War and its era, covering not only the major figures and epic battles, but also politics, religion, gender, race, diplomacy, and technology. And unlike other surveys of the Civil War era, it extends the reader's vista to include the postwar Reconstruction period and discusses the modern-day legacy of the Civil War in American literature and popular culture. Guelzo also puts the conflict in a global perspective, underscoring Americans' acute sense of the vulnerability of their republic in a world of monarchies. He examines the strategy, the tactics, and especially the logistics of the Civil War and brings the most recent historical thinking to bear on emancipation, the presidency and the war powers, the blockade and international law, and the role of intellectuals, North and South.

Written by a leading authority on our nation's most searing crisis, Fateful Lightning offers a vivid and original account of an event whose echoes continue with Americans to this day.

About Allen C. Guelzo

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Allen C. Guelzo is the Henry R. Luce Professor of the Civil War Era, and Director of Civil War Era Studies at Gettysburg College. He is the author of Abraham Lincoln: Redeemer President and Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation: The End of Slavery in America, both of which won the Lincoln Prize. His most recent books on Lincoln and the Civil War era are Lincoln and Douglas: The Debates That Defined America and Lincoln: A Very Short Introduction.
Published May 11, 2012 by Oxford University Press. 592 pages
Genres: History, Education & Reference, War. Non-fiction
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NY Times

Reviewed by David S. Reynolds on Jun 29 2012

Guelzo fleshes out the war record with a host of facts engagingly presented.

Read Full Review of Fateful Lightning: A New Hist... | See more reviews from NY Times

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