As its title indicates, this authentic and readable history of the Civil War by two retired U.S. Army officers, joint authors of The Military Heritage of America, is a succinct, one-volume account of the War from its outbreak at Fort Sumter in April, 1861, to Johnson's Proclamation of Amnesty in May, 1865. Viewing the conflict as ""total war"", not as a series of more or less disconnected military movements, the authors trace campaigns and describe battles, tell of mistakes on both sides and give their own pungent opinions, with which not all readers will agree, of generals, presidents and politicians. Writing of naval engagements they tell not only of Monitor and Merrimac (or Virginia), but also of gunboats on inland waterways and of the often forgotten, short-lived but deadly Confederate submarines. Stating that in their opinion the War was decided in the West, not around Richmond, they tell of MacClellan's mistakes and give full credit to Grant's military genius, so often overshadowed by Lee's flashing brilliance. A book to be supplemented by the histories of Catton, Freeman, Dowdey, etc., this balanced and unbiased volume will appeal less to the average Civil War buff than to serious students of the conflict.