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Although this first volume. In Patton's projected Cent History of the War only the from April, 1860, to July, 1861- it is a superb addition to . Many things went to the making of the war; illusion; divergent but honest coviction on both false hopes; political wire-pulling; and above all, the fragile that in the spring of 1860 ""the will to compromise had gone out of the people"" When the two political parties met for their presidential conventions, the South was already threatening S; It was assured with Douglas' nomination. The Republican candidate, a post stop-gap named Lincoln, was elected, Succession became a fact, and the South ""prepared to everything to preserve a past that was dissolving"". Slavery was even institution which the South was forced to defend: it could accept the only not as an equal. The firing on Fort Sumter brought ""a fury"" for war and Lincoln call for volunteers meant the harsh certainly that the North would fight for the Union. Through speeches, posturings, political fumblings and misconceptions leaders began to emerge. Lincoln saved the essential border states but lost Virginia to the South and with her his great antagonist, Robert E. Lee. The delusion, held by both sides, that the war would be glorious and brief ended in blood at Bull Run.... No historian writing in America today equals Catton in his sense of timing, his use of essential minor details, his ability to ensure reader participation. Here he writes of men talking rather than of men fighting, and those readers who prefer battles to politics may find this less exciting than the earlier books. But for all students and historians, appeal will be both immediate and lasting. This is history at its best.

Pub Date: Oct. 20th, 1961
Publisher: Doubleday