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My argument is that War makes rattling good history; but Peace is poor reading… Thomas Hardy

This book is not History! It is the imagining of its author of what people may have thought, said or done built on to a skeleton of a few facts assumed but not in evidence. That it is categorized as both nonfiction and history is a very dangerous thing – what it is might properly be called political history. All political history for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People recite the facts only when they coincide with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. This leads to thought corrupting language, and then language corrupts thought and a vicious circle is born in which truth dies. Like most Lincolnites, Oates not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by the union, but has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them – at least none are included here. What can you do against the fabulist who is as seemingly intelligent as yourself, who appears to give your arguments a fair hearing while actually subverting them at every opportunity,  and then simply persists in his lunacy? Unfortunately the answer is – Not Much! – and the only safety lies in ignoring him in the first place.

The whirlwind of war : voices of the storm, 1861-1865      Stephen B. Oates  United States , History , Civil War, 1861-1865  New York : HarperCollins, c 1998 Hardcover. 1st. ed. and printing. xvi, 846 p. ; 25 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. [715]-807) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG   

“The Whirlwind of War” is the second book in prize-winning historian and biographer Stephen B. Oates’ extraordinary “Voices of the Storm” trilogy, which began with “The Approaching Fury”, Oates’ compelling narrative about the 40 tumultuous years that led to “America’s Armageddon”.

An intensely dramatic and intimate portrayal of the people, events, influences and consequences of the American Civil War, “The Whirlwind of War” builds on the great themes and follows many of the important figures that were introduced in “The Approaching Fury”.

Oates brings his moving narrative of the complex, bloody and destructive war to vivid and memorable life by writing in the first person, impersonating the voices and assuming the viewpoints of several of the principal figures: the rival presidents, Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis; the rival generals, Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman; the great black abolitionist, editor and orator, Frederick Douglass; the young Union battlefield nurse, Cornelia Hancock; the brilliant head of the Chicago Sanitary Commission and co-creator of the northern Sanitary Fair, Mary Livermore; the Confederate socialite and political insider, Mary Boykin Chesnut; the assassin, John Wilkes Booth; and the greatest poet of the era, Walt Whitman, who speaks in the coda about the meaning of war and Lincoln’s death.


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