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The Longest Night

The Longest Night

A Military History of the Civil War

In this compelling new account of the American Civil War, noted historian David Eicher gives us an authoritative history of battle from the first shots at Fort Sumter to Lee's surrender at Appomattox. As a strictly military history, The Longest Night covers hundreds of engagements, both well known and obscure, including the oft-neglected Western theater and naval actions along the coasts and rivers. The result is a gripping popular history that will fascinate anyone just learning about the Civil War while offering more than a few surprises for longtime students.
Drawing on hundreds of sources and excerpts from correspondence by those who fought the war, The Longest Night conveys a real sense of life -- and death -- on the battlefield. In addition, Eicher analyzes each side's evolving strategy; examines the tactics of Lee, Grant, Johnston, and Sherman; and discusses significant topics such as prisons, railroads, shipbuilding, clandestine operations, and the role of African-Americans in the war. This is an indispensable chronicle of the war that James M. McPherson, in the Foreword, calls "the most dramatic, violent, and fateful experience in American history."
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  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 992 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780684849454 | 
  • September 2002
List Price $49.99
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1: The War Begins at Sumter

Sergeant James Chester could do nothing but walk out onto the parade ground and wait. The air was cool on this early spring evening as he stood and reflected on his current dilemma, surrounded by the massive three-story brick façade of an unfinished fort. Overhead, the stars twinkled and a waxing crescent moon hung low in the sky; Saturn and Jupiter were paired closely in the constellation Leo, suggesting to some an omen. A chilling breeze passed over the harbor every few minutes, adding to the grim anticipation. Chester, a youthful Scot, had emigrated to the United States and joined the army in... see more

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