Tuesday, July 10, 2018

America Aflame


A review of America Aflame: How the Civil War Created a Nation, by David Goldfield (Bloomsbury Press, 2011).

Whether or not the American Civil War might have been avoided has long been a subject of debate among historians. Some, like Allan Nevins and Charles and Mary Beard, saw the war as “an irrepressible conflict,” in the words of Abraham Lincoln’s Secretary of State, William H. Seward, between two separate civilizations; others, like Avery Craven and James G. Randall, viewed the conflict as eminently avoidable but for, in Randall’s famous phrase, a “blundering generation” of politicians who simply failed to solve what was essentially a political problem.

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