The Very Rich Hours of the Lambrights

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The Civil War

On April 12, 1861 the American Civil War started when military forces of the Confederate States of America fired on Fort Sumter, a US Army post in the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina.  While this was the official start of hostilities, the conflict had been brewing for years and was rooted in some of the most fundamental divisions underlying the exercise in democracy that is the United States of America.

As we arrive at the 150th anniversary of this cataclysmic event, I’m sure that there is going to be lot of conversation for the next few years on the war, why it happened, and what impact it had on our nation.  I’m going to add my own small voice to the conversation here.

Over the next few years, I am embarking on a course of reading about the Civil War in an attempt to gain a better understanding of the conflict.  Some of the books will be read in conjunction with a specific event or battle whose 150th anniversary is approaching.  Other books will not fall into a strict chronology of the war but will fill in the gaps between the headline events.  As I blog about my reading and other Civil War topics, each post will be tagged The Civil War.  Hopefully, it will grow to become a resource for others like myself who wish to ponder the events of 150 years ago.

While I have been a Civil War buff for about 20 years now, I do not claim to be a scholar.  I also do not claim that my book list will comprise a balanced, comprehensive overview of the war.  My choice of books will reflect the peculiar interests and biases I have developed over the years thinking about the war.  Having said that, I don’t want to simply re-read the same books that I’ve collected over the years.  I am trying to broaden my understanding and expect to be surprised from time to time in my reading.  I hope you’ll come along for the ride and share your own thoughts and insights.  Also, websites and books that I might have overlooked!

Any understanding of this nation has to be based, and I mean really based, on an understanding of the Civil War. I believe that firmly. It defined us. The Revolution did what it did. Our involvement in European wars, beginning with the First World War, did what it did. But the Civil War defined us as what we are and it opened us to being what we became, good and bad things. And it is very necessary, if you are going to understand the American character in the twentieth century, to learn about this enormous catastrophe of the mid-nineteenth century. It was the crossroads of our being, and it was a hell of a crossroads.

Shelby Foote


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