An extraordinary achievement -- this photographic record of the Civil War, made by the loading photographer of his times, the famous Mathew Brady. He was assigned -- on his own insistence -- as official photographer of the Union Army, and through his photographs, made under the most difficult of circumstances, and with inadequate equipment, he has given today's reader a chance to feel a sense of knowing what war was like eighty years ago. Roy Meredith has brought together some 400 photographs, -- the continuity of Civil War photographs, the leading men in the realm of politics and military life, figures of importance in the world of art and letters, place photographs that take one back to the social life of the times. The text -- the first full biography of Brady -- is factual, competent, but uninspired; the pictures are their own best advocate. An essential item for every collector of Civil War material. A beautiful piece of book making.