AMERICA AND THE CIVIL WAR ERA: 1850-1875 by

AMERICA AND THE CIVIL WAR ERA: 1850-1875

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The problem with this across-the-board survey of Civil War history, economic development, and cultural accomplishment isn't outright misstatement or error so much as the narrative's skimpy, mind-deadening gloss of names and events. The destruction of the buffalo and Sherman's march through Georgia are dispatched in a paragraph or so each, and causes are enumerated but hardly evaluated--so that a minimally balanced but wishy-washy discussion of Reconstruction leaves the impression that black ""inability to cope"" with freedom was a major cause of its failure. (Similarly, Boardman notes in passing that it was difficult for a farmer to get ahead under the sharecropping system.) Little is done to make statistics meaningful: it's pointless to cite a typical workingman's wages without giving some idea of prices, for example. The chief value of Boardman's approach is that he puts together all the facts a student might need to review for exams and no more; other entries have made a place for themselves on this dismal principle, and this might do just as well.

Publisher: Walck