Originally Posted by Dr. Greg
To Tie Up a Few Loose Ends Here...
Some Final Observations...
1. Historical Content.
Several times in my RR I mentioned the fact that I felt the Catton & Foote trilogies were "too much" for me. Actually, it's more than that. I wanted a greater overview of the conditions that LED UP
to the Civil War, not just the actual battle strategies, tactics, etc.
The book I've cited several times: "Battle Cry of Freedom" by James McPherson, is actually one volume in the Oxford "History of the United States," and as such has a wealth of information about the conditions pre-Civil War.
For example, do you know about (1) William Walker, (2) the "Know-Nothing" Party, (3) the "Blood Tubs" (a gang), or (4) Preston Brooks? If not, better read McPherson!
Those are my feelings also. There are two distinct historical subjects when talking about the Civil War. The history of what led to the war and the battles them self. The things that led up to the Civil War starting in 1615, more less, tell quite a story. I mentioned at the beginning of the report a book entitled American Nations, by Colin Woodward.
In Woodward's book he traces the history of the eleven rival regional cultures of North America from the time of the White man's colonization of North America in the 1600s to present day Red-Blue States.
He defines the eleven distinct cultures as First Nation (Indian), New France, Yankeedom, New Netherlands, Tidewater, the Midlands, Greater Appalachia, the Deep South, the Far West, the Left Coast, and El Norte. His heavily footnoted book describes how this concept of an American Union was somewhat of a myth.
Leading up to the Civil War, the cultures were very much at odds over many issues. It was very unclear prior to actual hostilities who would side with whom if a war were to break out. One example being that 1/4 of the counties of Tennessee, the ones in Appalachia, didn't want to break away from the "Union" and were literally forced to do so. Another example being that New England planed to leave the Union in the 1830s, but due the ending of the war with England, decided that if there was a war with the other regions, they couldn't depend on England for help.
Very interesting subject. Thanks for opening up the discussion.