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Finalist, National Book Critics Circle Award (Nonfiction)
10 BEST BOOKS • THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW • 2011
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
The Washington Post • The New Yorker • Chicago Tribune • The Economist • Nancy Pearl, NPR • Bloomberg.com • Library Journal • Publishers Weekly
In this brilliant narrative, Amanda Foreman tells the fascinating story of the American Civil War—and the major role played by Britain and its citizens in that epic struggle. Between 1861 and 1865, thousands of British citizens volunteered for service on both sides of the Civil War. From the first cannon blasts on Fort Sumter to Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, they served as officers and infantrymen, sailors and nurses, blockade runners and spies. Through personal letters, diaries, and journals, Foreman introduces characters both humble and grand, while crafting a panoramic yet intimate view of the war on the front lines, in the prison camps, and in the great cities of both the Union and the Confederacy. In the drawing rooms of London and the offices of Washington, on muddy fields and aboard packed ships, Foreman reveals the decisions made, the beliefs held and contested, and the personal triumphs and sacrifices that ultimately led to the reunification of America.
WINNER OF THE FLETCHER PRATT AWARD FOR CIVIL WAR HISTORY
“Engrossing . . . a sprawling drama.”—The Washington Post
“Eye-opening . . . immensely ambitious and immensely accomplished.”—The New Yorker
“So expansive in its scope, and so well written, that to call it a masterpiece somehow doesn’t seem to do it justice. . . . Foreman displays her exceptional gift for storytelling and for making history both fascinating and relevant.”—The Christian Science Monitor
“History as a Cecil B. DeMille epic . . . One puts down A World on Fire with a sense of awe.”—The Boston Globe
“Thrilling narrative on a grand scale.”—History Today
“[A] remarkable book . . . an extraordinary cast.”—The New York Times Book Review
“[A] magisterial history.”—Newsweek