"What is man to do when the laws he has lived under and respected put his heart in conflict with itself?" It is this fundamental question that illuminates Hearts in Conflict, a brilliant new history of the American Civil War. Here, in one single volume well supplied with easy-to-read maps, author and military historian Curt Anders provides a clear understanding of exactly what happened between North and South during the years 1861 to 1865. In Hearts in Conflict the author uses the words of participants to bring the war vividly to life - from the portents of conflict in the summer of 1860 to the cooling of the guns in 1865. At the outset, Anders argues, Americans were in a fighting mood, and passion crowded out reason. The breakdown of institutional procedures for resolving disputes led to military action, and battle became the means of reaching an ultimate and unarguable decision. Acting as an unobtrusive guide, the author carries the reader through the tumultuous years, not only describing campaigns and battles but also providing insights into the motivations and intents of the actors. By shifting the narrative from one side to the other, Anders provides a fresh, clear view of the war's progress. And he uses documents to permit the major figures - Lincoln, Seward, McClellan, Jackson, Lee, Grant, Sherman, and countless others, great and small - to reveal themselves in their own words. And always to the reader's benefit, Anders shares his military understanding of the leaders and the bloody battles they waged. Hearts in Conflict is, ultimately, as much a search for values as it is the story of a war. The author focuses on the men whose ideas and actions drove the events, most of them ordinary people facing extraordinary challenges. Some became heroes - they earned respect - while others, lacking the characteristics required to deal with situations utterly unforeseen, faltered. In the end we comprehend why men fought - and succeeded or failed. Hearts in Conflict,
Rather unremarkable. The maps are minimalistic, which may be helpful explaining movements of troops in the battles. Makes me yearn for a multi-volume read.