GDG- Killing Lincoln

joadx1 at joadx1 at
Sat Jan 14 18:56:02 CST 2012

 McPherson's explicit task was to reduce the entire Civil War—both its military events and its socio-political contexts—to a single volume.  His success in doing this is astonishing.  He doesn't get all the battle details exactly correct (Chamberlain didn't order a right wheel forward on LRT, but he sure as heck was there and participated when the regiment charged down the hill, which is something that Foote leaves out entirely in a much much longer treatment of the battle, and that's what counts), and he has to give some battles short shrift to fit everything in.  But McPherson's entirely documented contextualization of the war—which happens to strongly indicate that even if Lincoln had behaved as Buchanan had behaved, war was inevitable against an aggressive new southern nation that wanted Cuba and just about everything south of the Rio Grande for a new slave empire—is really all any reader needs to dispel the myths about the war that we are still contending with.

McPherson has also written about his reception among academic historians for having written a best-selling one volume history of the war.  That reception hasn't always been flattering, but it doesn't bother him.  He is more concerned with the importance of educating the public and he is proud to be a public intellectual.



-----Original Message-----
From: CWMHTours <CWMHTours at>
To: gettysburg <gettysburg at>
Sent: Sat, Jan 14, 2012 4:00 pm
Subject: Re: GDG- Killing Lincoln

Esteemed GDG Member Contributes:
I wound up not liking " Battle Cry of Freedom" in that it  spends the first 
80% of the war in narrative of the first year or two and  suddenly ends the 
rest abruptly.
As in, then the battle of Gettysburg was fought,  then  the Siege of 
Petersburg was fought and then the surrender of Appomattox and the  war was 
It was like he attempted to write a much longer work and  changed his mind 
abruptly and short-changed the reader with his  conclusions.
First part was great.  Where is the rest of the  trilogy?
Your  Most Obedient Servant,

In a message dated 1/14/2012 6:51:11 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,  
mdblough at writes:

Esteemed  GDG Member Contributes:
Dennis-James McPherson proved, with "Battle Cry of  Freedom" that a work 
could be both scholarly and highly readable at the same  time. 




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