Don't Know Much about the Civil War:

by Kenneth Charles Davis

Don't Know Much about the Civil War: cover

Acquired

Publisher

Page Count

518

Format

ISBN

0-68811-814-3

In this fascinating book, Davis gives readers everything they "need to know" about the Civil War - and not just the battles. With his deft wit and unconventional style, Davis sorts out the players, the politics, and the key events - Harpers Ferry, Shiloh, Gettysburg, Emancipation, Reconstruction. Drawing on the moving eyewitness accounts of the people who lived through the war, he brings the reader into the world of the ordinary men and women who made history - the human side of the story that the textbooks never tell. Don't Know Much About the Civil War explodes the myths and misconceptions about the war, its causes, and the men who fought on both sides. A brilliant crash course, it vividly brings to life such people as Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis, Generals Lee and Grant, and Admiral Farragut, Frederick Douglass, and Harriet Beecher Stowe. It looks behind the battles and the tactics to the astounding human misery the way brought upon a divided nation. Davis also highlights the critical - and often forgotten - roles played by African Americans before and during the war. He tells how American women worked, nursed, and even fought. And he makes readers look at modern America in a whole new light. Davis (Don't Know Much About Geography, LJ 9/15/92) states in this new addition to his series that too many Americans understand little or nothing about the Civil War. This may well be true, but his book is not necessarily the solution. On the plus side, Davis offers quotes from the participants of the war and includes chronologies. On the minus side, he takes a simplistic approach to the war's origins (there is nothing regarding the issue of tariffs, for example). He explodes some myths about the Civil War but perpetuates others. While his work does have some merit, a better choice like Curt Anders's Hearts in Conflict (LJ 5/1/94) would provide a superior introduction to the Civil War.-Robert A. Curtis, Taylor Memorial P.L., Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio School Gr 7 Up-Kenneth C. Davis provides listeners with everything they need to know about the Civil War. BookList - Gilbert Taylor A poll last year revealed abysmal historical amnesia among high-schoolers. Most didn't know in which half of the nineteenth century the Civil War occurred, much less have a clue to what the conflict was about. Remedying such historical ignorance is Davis' bread and butter, and perhaps his third title in the Don't Know Much series can persuade know-nothings that the Civil War was a Really Big Deal. Preempting their complaint that history is boring, Davis copiously quotes "voices" verbatim, presuming such humanizing will interest students. Yet reprinting long excerpts by Frederick Douglass, and others, exacts a cost in narrative fluidity. Also, reading pace breaks up as chronologies repeatedly pop up, equaled by interjected Q & A's, such as "Who Was the Little Napoleon?" or "Why Did Jefferson Own Slaves?" As quiz book and almanac, Davis' work at least points the intrigued neophyte toward facts and a bibliography of the best Civil War books, but it has limited power to energize those unconcerned about the topic. AudioFile - Michael T. Fein The authorÆs contention that slavery was the cause of the war (it takes up a quarter of this work) is rather simplistic. By minimizing the many other causes of this national tragedy, Davis does a great disservice to those he wishes to inform. The arrangement is in a question-and-answer format with apparently adolescent voices asking the questions and at least two anonymous adults answering. The readers are all easy to understand and follow. Indeed, they take this often dry and occasionally cynical text farther than it deserves. M.T.F. ¬AudioFile, Portland, Maine AudioFile - Michael T. Fein The authorÆs contention that slavery was the cause of the war (it takes up a quarter of this work) is rather simplistic. By minimizing the many other causes of this national tragedy, Davis does a great disservice to those he wishes to inform. The arrangement is in a question-and-answer format with