I took “Battle Cry of Freedom” by James McPherson on a recent road trip to again browse chapters that most intrigue me in this highly regarded history of the Civil War. I read the full book years ago and may never undertake that reading again, but it is a book always ripe for chapter reads.
This is not a book detailing the specific battles, movement by movement. There are volumes of such books available.
Neither is the work an overview of the Civil War. That would be unfair to the details so intricately nuanced here.
The story here is about the whys and whens of war, including an important look at the pre-war issues facing the country that fostered the tragedy.
McPherson has that rare ability to take history and turn it into a living, breathing expression of human decisions. That’s what makes portions of this work so personal. We feel the human element of one man or woman cast in the saga of immense death and misery.
This book was written in 1988 and there has been no one volume since to equal the encompassing coverage this book gives to the Civil War.
If you have not read it, it is well worth the time. If you have read it, picking the volume up and reading a chapter never lets you down.
Of another civil war, another tragedy, but the story is the same:
“Some people tried to hurt us to protect themselves, their family and communities...This was one of the consequences of civil war. People stopped trusting each other, and every stranger became an enemy. Even people who knew you became extremely careful about how they related or spoke to you.” - Ishmael Beah, “A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier”
This title caught my eye as a jazz lover and is on the list. Here is a review from The Washington Post of “The Book of Harlan” by Bernice L. McFadden
“‘The Book of Harlan’ is Bernice L. McFadden’s 10th novel, and it is simply miraculous. Each character in her large cast is vivid, and every turn of event is intriguing. Leaping from Harlem to the Holocaust and back again, it’s also a history lesson with a heart and lots of soul.”
The list grows.
Gary Thorne is the play-by-play voice of the Orioles on MASN, and the 2016 season is his 10th with the club and 31st covering Major League Baseball. His blog will appear regularly throughout the season. The Orioles and Sarasota County have partnered on the Big League Reader Program, which rewarded kids who read three books in February with tickets to a Grapefruit League game at Ed Smith Stadium in March.
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