Crossroads to Freedom
- Narrated by: Nelson Runger
- Length: 5 hrs and 51 mins
- Unabridged Audiobook
- Release date: 12-12-03
- Language: English
- Publisher: Recorded Books
The “Pivotal Moments in American History” series seeks to unite the old and the new history, combining the insights and techniques of recent historiography with the power of traditional narrative. Each title has a strong narrative arc with drama, irony, suspense, and – most importantly – great characters who embody the human dimension of historical events. The general editors of “Pivotal Moments” are not just historians; they are popular writers themselves, and, in two cases, Pulitzer Prize winners: David Hackett Fischer, James M. McPherson, and David Greenberg. We hope you like your American History served up with verve, wit, and an eye for the telling detail!
"A fine study." ( Library Journal)
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Aaron on 26-01-04
Far beyond the scope of the battle
This excellent book is not a standard battle history of Antietam (called Sharpsburg by the South) -- it is an excellent summary of the war to that point, and why the battle was so important in shaping issues beyond the battlefield. It examines examining the changing moods of both North and South up to that point, their changing expectations, what they were willing to put up with in terms of sacrifice and casualties. There is no sense of inevitability to the North's eventual victory here; the war was at midpoint and at the time a strategic draw. And although Antietam was the single bloodiest day in American history, while not to be ignored, this is hardly its significance. As a Union victory, it gave Lincoln the political capital to finally issue the Emancipation Proclamation freeing the slaves in the Southern states. This changed the war decisively, rendering it a battle for and against slavery that it hadn't explicitly been to that point. For this reason it also foreclosed the possibility of any European recognition of the South, which was quite eminent and perhaps the South's closest means of drawing the war to a close in its favor.
In addition to these strategic issues, McPherson is also quite good at drawing out several personalities involved in the battle. Lincoln's difficult balance in withholding his Emancipation Proclamation without some tangible Union success is explained thoroughly, some generals are described, various European reactions are explored -- but the character one remembers most is the ambivalent general of the Army of the Potomac, McClellan. It is an excellent study of failings and success in command, and failings and success in character.
19 of 19 people found this review helpful
By David on 11-05-05
A nice civil war read
If you are looking for a long and detailed analysis of the battle of Antietam then this is not the book. But I enjoyed the analysis of the early phases of the civil war and the crtical juncture Antietam was. The author does a nice job telling the story and even the ending provides yet another good summary of what happens after the battle.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful