Written primarily for British readers by a British scholar and historian, this excellent brief study of the Civil War, ""one of the most fascinating and satisfying studies in all history"", tells less of the military aspects of the war than of its social and economic backgrounds, its sectional disputes, and its political leaders. Disagreeing with those who believe slavery was only a minor cause of an inevitable conflict, the author traces the growth and development of the ""peculiar institution"", its importance in sectional disputes, and the South's unwillingness to recognize it as an economic and social liability: ""Even if the South had won the Civil War, she would still have had to face the civilized world on the issue of slavery"". With an objective eye he writes of Lincoln, whom he considers one of the world's greatest men, and of his cabinet and generals; he writes also of Davis, of the calamitous embargo on the export of cotton, and of the South's devotion to State's Rights, which he believes was a cause of defeat. ""In the crisis, 'my country' meant 'my state' to the vast majority of Southerners."" The book ends with an analysis of Reconstruction, and today's attitude toward the War, both North and South. Although written for a British audience, this concise volume should appeal to American students as well, and should prove an excellent college textbook.