Critical Analysis Of The Book The Civil War By Bruce Catton
In the book, The Civil War, it starts off with how the early Americans were mostly farmers and how they believed to be the happiest people in the world, and how slavery became an uprising effort in the south. Thus leading the North and the South to seperate, to then adjust to the industrial age in many different ways. The south was very dependent on slavery and without slavery they would become soluble. The differences between the North and South, but mostly on the complicated existence of slavery in the south, would then lead the societies into a raging war, which utterly destroyed the american nation as a whole.
The north thought that slavery in all would have to run out of existence soon, but were entirely wrong. Major inventions, such as the famous Eli Whitney, cotton gin, which was invented in 1793 made great use of the short-staple cotton and dramatically boosted the cotton empire. Soon enough the first attack on the North would happen, attack on Fort Sumter, which was a brick stronghold on an island near Charleston Harbor. The South laid seige to the fort and while the bombardment of Fort Sumter was spontaneous and was a spectacle, it was a clear symbol that the Civil War had begun. Both sides showed that they were willing to fight in war rather than negogiate an agreement. “Oddly enough, the long bombardment killed no one on either side, and the war was which was to be so costly began with a bloodless battle.”
The main theme that the book, The Civil War, revolves around the fact that the civil war was raging conflict between the Americans in both the north and south. However, regarding their survival of respective nations and societies, they were willing to fight on inspite of such casualties. Because a compromise could not exist between the two societies, a war began, thus leading to years of bloodshed; small battles were fought at both ends, but the huge battles were to come resulting in mass amounts of casualties, and leaving the Union the only possible way to win as total victory, and destroy the old south, with also its basic beliefs of slavery. It laid the foundation of legal settle status in the United States, while also bringing about the eradication of slavery.
Abraham Lincoln said,” the monstrous injustice of slavery… deprives our republican example of its just unfluence in the world-- enables the enemies of free institutions, with plausibility, to taunt use as hypocrites.” In this quote, Lincoln begins to inform the north that the south is using slavery, as a means of manipulating african people, and is the only sort of institution that the south believe in. Nevertheless, more than 620,000 Union and Confederate soldiers gave their utmost pride in the war and losing their life in the process. In the book it is said to have been many “woeful misunderstandings between the north and south” before the civil war even started. One tragic misunderstanding was that actually neither sided, north and south, realized that the other side was serious about going to war.. It was not until the war started that the opposite side really want to go fight in war.
Strength and Weaknesses:
As there are more strengths than weaknesses in the book, The Civil War, it provides many important topics about the civil war itself, and even before the war started. Famous politcal debates between powerful political leaders, such as the president himself, Abraham Lincoln, and Jefferson Davis. The book went quite in depth about the characteristics of Davis, and also with the fact that he had great experience with politcs, but he had yet to even experience aristocrat-in-politcs. Even talked about his fellow cabinet members such as Judah P. Benjamin, who was a lawyer and former senator. Known to be devoted and hard working and was heavily trusted by Davis. Opposing party members, such as William H. Seward went against Davis for the Republican Presidential Nomination, while believing that he himself would be better at running the show. Both Lincoln and Davis had to go through intense political opposition when the war was progressing, and it is to be said that in the long run, Lincoln’s cabinet would stay to help him, while in Davis’s cabinet would not.
The book goes through many of the wars, and what could be said about them. Davis was in a spot that had him struggling to keep his life in a dying cause and not let it go to waste, with that he was not trying to see the luring pending doom, but realized that in order to save the confederacy, he must win battles in the war, and that would not happen unless the north gave up. Not longer after Davis made one of the most fate deciding decisions in the war, by putting General John Bell Hood in place of Johnston. Hood was seen as a combat soldier of many efficiencies, and even commanded a brigade, and then a division of Lee's army. Hood had been put in charge so that he could lead that army right into battle to fight, and because of this Hood took no time doing so. Sherman was losing battles left and right, and because of this sherman would have to retreat, his primary concern was Bedford Forrest, since his operations on the line were superb, however sherman would have to put Forrest out of commission if he wished to procceed. All of Sherman’s attempts would result in utter defeat. As Forrest’s tactics were so brilliant, there was one flaw that cost him greatly, Forrest had done exactly was Sherman wanted him to do, by keeping him bsuy just long enough that Forrest was unable to get into Tennessee, while he was engaged, could not hold the line forever, and would eventually have to pull back. Thus, this led to much needed reinforcements for both the north and south, with the northerners spirits high in the clouds, they were ready for all out war. In September of 1864, total war had started in full throttle, and thousands of innocent lives were going to be lost.
The historical value of the Civil War, “The triumph of the North, above and beyond its superior naval forces, numbers, and industrial and financial resources, was partly due to the statesmanship of Lincoln, who by 1864 had become a masterful political and war leader”(2). The victory can also be looked at by the failures of the confederate transportation, and political leaderships. The war’s high death in absolute numbers and the amount of soldiers that went to war, have not stopped astonishing historians, and many scholars. Historians believed that the death rate was high as 360,000, but a demographer in recent years has uncovered the true numbers and the death toll was actually up to 752,000. During the civil war, american were heavily religious, and seeing how much of lives were lost, they had a hard time trying to understand why God would let such destruction occur.
Talk about the author: Bruce Catton, was an american journalist, and recognized historian of his time, especially of his books on the american civil war. Served two years in the navy, but was interrupted as he left for a career in journalism, and continued to study the great Civil War Period.
The book, The Civil war, proved to be very informal and in debth about what went on during the civil war. Since the book was all about the Civil war, it showed all aspects by letting the reader know what exactly was happening during a certain point in time. The american Civil War was a very influential period in american history, and will always be known to have one of the greatest presidents to ever live in its time. The Civil War had destroyed one of the two american ways of life, while also changing the other way past reconstruction; some say it ended just as it began, and now not a single person can say what it truly meant since it finished.