Bob Casey is the director of the Antietam National Battlefield Museum Store, a first-class and first-rate organization. Yesterday, Bob asked if I would be interested in reading Dr. James McPherson's new book, This Mighty Scourge: Perspectives on the Civil War and then let him know what I thought of the work. Of course I said I would be glad to.
I have long admired Dr. McPherson's work, and consider him to be the nation's finest Civil War historian, and after reading This Mighty Scourge, I am further convinced that he is so. The book is a collection of essays that examine not only the war, but the ways in which it has been remembered over the years. It is very-well written and easy to understand, and his perspectives are certainly persuasive. Dr. McPherson excels in helping bridge the gap that exists between the realms of academic and public history, making his works excellent for both the beginner and the war's most avid students. In This Mighty Scourge, McPherson examines the big issues, i.e. what brought on the war, and what led the Confederacy's collapse, among many other topics. At the same time, he discusses some interesting ways in which the war has been remembered and why it is, for example, that in some quarters Jesse James is seen as a hero and John Brown a villian.
I sung the praises of this book to Bob today, and most highly recommend it to anyone interested not only in the history of the Civil War, but in the history of the United States as well.