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Sintesi dell'editore

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Battle Cry of Freedom and many other award-winning books, James M. McPherson is America's preeminent Civil War historian. Now, in this collection of provocative and illuminating essays, McPherson offers fresh insight into many of the most enduring questions about one of the defining moments in our nation's history.

Listeners will find insightful pieces on such intriguing figures as Harriet Tubman, John Brown, Jesse James, and William Tecumseh Sherman, and on such vital issues as Confederate military strategy, the failure of peace negotiations to end the war, and the realities and myths of the Confederacy.

Combining the finest scholarship with luminous prose, and packed with new information and fresh ideas, this book brings together the most recent thinking by the nation's leading authority on the Civil War.

©2007 James M. McPherson (P)2008 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Altri titoli dello stesso

"It will seduce anyone, Civil War neophyte or fanatic, for its authority and judgments....There is not a bad chapter in this book. This Mighty Scourge is a marvelous read from a master historian. Like all good history, what it makes you want to do is know more." ( Boston Globe)

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  • Generale
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Roy
  • 03/05/2009

An Introduction to McPherson

James McPherson in "This Mighty Scourge" has not produced so much a history as an analysis of aspects of the American Civil War in this compilation. Through the republication of 16 essays he answers such questions as why did the war start?, what motivated individuals to fight on both sides?, what were the geographical determined differentials in subsequent interpretations of the war?

Some of the essays are updated, some new, and some are republished. Through all the listener benefits from McPherson's long experience with the topic and related literature. Using him as guide, the listener comes away with a perspective built on those years of experience and the benefits of broad understanding of the research since the war.

I listened to learn more about the war and was not disappointed. The writing is wonderful and the reading is exceptional. This is a good introduction to McPherson. First timers to McPherson's work can move from this text to many others also availlable from Audible by him.

13 people found this helpful

  • Generale
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lettura
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Storia
    5 out of 5 stars
  • BVerité
  • 11/03/2015

Outstanding!!!

Extraordinary collection of McPherson's ideas and analyses of various subjects related to the Civil War. It's one of the most enjoyable books I've listened to on the subject! Great narrator, and wonderful questions to ponder for all civil war buffs!

4 people found this helpful

  • Generale
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Lettura
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Storia
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ryan
  • 28/10/2011

Quite informative

One the bargain specials at Audible turned out to be an interesting collection of essays on different aspects of the Civil War, ranging from the real reasons the war began, to how close foreign powers came to intervening, to Southern revisionism in history books after the war, to whether Sherman was an underrated general, to the political life of Abraham Lincoln. Most of the pieces are written as responses to some existing work or theory in Civil War scholarship, but McPherson does a good job of providing context for the casual history buff. Overall, his writing is engaging and informative, and gave me a lot more perspective into the complex interweave of political, historical, social, and military factors that defined the reality of the war as it took place, some of which modern readers might not know about. Occasionally, some of the essays descend into academic dryness, but most of them were full of fascinating detail and insight.

4 people found this helpful

  • Generale
    5 out of 5 stars
  • BIED
  • 13/05/2011

Excellent collection of essays

Do not expect to read a comprehensive study of the Civil War. This is a collection of essays covering various topics, such as an excellent bio of Jesse James, or the way post-war Southern lobbies managed to change the contents of history textbooks dealing with the Civil War and deterred scholars from making independent search on this topic in Southern colleges.

4 people found this helpful

  • Generale
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lettura
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Storia
    5 out of 5 stars
  • John
  • 20/04/2021

Scholarly (in the Very Best Sense of the Word)

It’s a sense we have lost sight of recently, as the myopic politics of outrage replace patient study and understanding. But for anyone still in the market for those last two commodities, you can’t do better than James McPherson: “[M]y conclusions suggest additional questions that I hope readers will ponder, perhaps arriving at judgements different from mine. I welcome disagreements and dialogue, for that is how scholarship and understanding advance.”

There is certainly plenty here to ponder. Can we discover the truth subsumed in Harriet Tubman’s legend? Was John Brown a terrorist? What were Lee’s true aims in Pennsylvania? Was the Confederacy divided against itself? In the face of appalling casualty rates, how did the soldiers go on fighting? Perhaps my favorite essay is the long fifteenth chapter, an overview of several works on Lincoln (and an illuminating discussion of the practice and pitfalls of scholarship). McPherson also charts the evolution of the argument over the causes of the war as well as the decades-long Lost Cause crusade to sanitize southern schoolbooks after the peace—an eerie parallel to today’s collegiate safe spaces. Whatever the subject, McPherson’s whole approach, from his evidence to his conclusions to the words chosen to express those conclusions, is measured and thoughtful.

Admittedly, as a narrator Barrett Whitener takes some getting used to but stick with him. By the third essay it will probably occur to you that his calm, measured reading dovetails nicely with McPherson’s calm, well-crafted prose.

3 people found this helpful

  • Generale
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lettura
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Storia
    5 out of 5 stars
  • David Cortes
  • 16/09/2020

An eye opener.

Much like the way people should get the current events news, this book looks at history through multiple perspectives. Addressing the issues and many points of view affected by things as either arbitrary as date of publication to rationality of the author, this book was a breath of fresh air for an abridged view of the Civil War.

3 people found this helpful

  • Generale
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Elaine
  • 08/10/2009

Black side of War

"The mighty Scourge" is a look into the past; the experiences of the era just before and after the Civil War. Told often in the words of the slaves themselves makes this book essencial to understanding the humane issues surrounding the American civil War. Read "The Mighty Scourge" for a fresh, perspective on American history. E. Eastman

3 people found this helpful

  • Generale
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lettura
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Storia
    5 out of 5 stars
  • mark
  • 07/06/2013

Excellent Book, Awful Performance

Another indespensible perspective on the Civil War from James McPherson. Here he goes into depth about some topics only briefly covered in his outstanding Battle Cry of Freedom vols. 1 & 2. The excellence of the book is unfortunately marred by a bizarre performance that is so rapid as to be almost incomprehensible. Once I slowed it to half speed it was better, only now a bit slow. I cannot imagine this audio could have been produced intentionally.

2 people found this helpful

  • Generale
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lettura
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Storia
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mary
  • 22/02/2021

Not a comprehensive history; not introductory

The "Boston Globe" reviewer recommends the book for the Civil War neophyte. I disagree. It's not a comprehensive history. Instead, as the subtitle states, it's a collection of perspectives on several particular aspects of the war. There's a chapter about Jesse James, but only passing mentions of George Meade and Stonewall Jackson. A reader who doesn't already know the basic outlines of the runup to the war and the war itself will lack the context for much of this material.

For the non-neophyte, however, there's a great deal of value. I was particularly impressed by the treatment of the consequences of the Battle of Antietam. It tends to be overshadowed by Gettysburg, but McPherson makes the case that Antietam was more important, notably because it forestalled the British and French involvement on behalf of the Confederacy that might otherwise have occurred. I was less interested in all the meta-analysis. McPherson, as a professional historian, discusses sources and several other modern scholarly works about the war. These passages amount to an annotated bibliography rather than a history.

Narration: Some reviews here criticize the narrator's monotone. That's too harsh, but he does tend to not vary his tone much. I was astounded to see that he also narrated "A Confederacy of Dunces" because that narration was one of the best I've ever heard. It was notable for the narrator's ability to convey the distinctive voices of a multitude of characters. He should have deployed some of that talent here. There were also a couple of minor points. It's one thing to pronounce "Taney" to rhyme with "rainy" (it's actually a homophone of "tawny"). But even people unfamiliar with American legal history should know that longitude and latitude are expressed in degrees and minutes. The Missouri Compromise line was 36 degrees 30 minutes, not, as this narrator repeatedly says, 36 degrees 30 miles.

1 person found this helpful

  • Generale
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Lettura
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Storia
    3 out of 5 stars
  • George
  • 07/03/2014

New Insights

The book is a series of essays on subjects about the American civil war. Several of them are about people, including Lincoln, John Brown, Jeff Davis and Jessie James. Those were the most interesting. Some of the political discussions were down right boring. The author did provide some new insights and I generally enjoyed the book.

1 person found this helpful