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What They Fought for 1861-1865

What They Fought for 1861-1865
Author: James M. McPherson
ISBN 13: 9780385476348
ISBN 10: 385476345
Edition: Trade Paperback Edition
Publisher: Anchor Books
Publication Date: 1995
Format: Paperback
Pages: 88
List Price: N/A

In Battle Cry Of Freedom,  James M. McPherson presented a fascinating, concise  general history of the defining American conflict.  With What They Fought For, he  focuses his considerable talents on what motivated  the individual soldier to fight. In an exceptional  and highly original Civil War analysis, McPherson  draws on the letters and diaries of nearly one  thousand Union and Confederate soldiers, giving voice  to the very men who risked their lives in the  conflict. His conclusion that most of them felt a keen  sense of patriotic and ideological commitment  counters the prevailing belief that Civil War soldiers  had little or no idea of what they were lighting  for. In their letters home and their diaries —  neither of which were subject to censorship — these  men were able to comment, in writing, on a wide  variety of issues connected with their war  experience. Their insights show how deeply felt and  strongly held their convictions were and reveal far more  careful thought on the ideological issues of the  war than has previously been thought to be true.  Living only eighty years after the signing of the  Declaration of Independence, Civil War soldiers felt  the legacy and responsibility entrusted to them by  the Founding Fathers to to preserve fragile  democracy — be it through secession or union — as  something worth dying for. In What They  Fought For, McPherson takes individual voices  and places them in the great and terrible choir of  a country divided against itself. The result is  both an impressive scholarly tour de force and a  lively, highly accessible account of the sentiments  of both Northern and Southern soldiers during the  national trauma of the Civil War.

Publishers Weekly

Using personal accounts left by Civil War soldiers, McPherson gives his own interpretation of what drew these men to fight. (Apr.)