By Bruce Catton

ISBN-10: 0819560162

ISBN-13: 9780819560162

A desirable examine of the 1st sleek struggle and its impression on American tradition.

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All in all, given the conditions which existed in the 1860's, he was a character who had to be there if the war was to be won. Yet if politics was what was essentially right about the Northern conduct of the war, it was also in many ways what was wrong about it. Only up to a certain point can the flexible compromises of politics be applied to the conduct of a war. Page 43 After that point, war's own grim rules apply. The Northern government went past that point and the entire country paid the price.

There is no denying that some of these men turned out to be utterly incompetent soldiers. Is saying that the same thing, however, as saying that the Lincoln administration made a terrible mistake in commissioning them? I do not think it is. Fremont and Sigel and Butler would handicap any army, of course. But would the Federal war effort have gone along faster if better men had been in their placesand if the government had never had the popular support which it won by commissioning those men? Could the war have been won if Page 40 the hard core of free-soil anti-slavery men had been alienated?

It compels our attention, to be sure. As an historical pageant it still has power to stir our emotions; as a fearful object lesson in the dire things that can happen when our political machinery breaks down, it continues to be worth detailed examination; as an example of the tragic price we have paid for an expanded ideal of the worth of human unity and freedom, it deserves all the attention we can give it. Yet we seem to be transforming it into a conversation piece. More and more it is being looked upon as a mine of source material from which booksbest-sellers, and otherwiseradio shows and television dramas can be made.

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America goes to war by Bruce Catton


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