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Turning Points of the American Civil War

Turning Points of the American Civil War

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Edited by Chris Mackowski and Kristopher D. White, with a foreword by Thomas A.Desjardin


Paperback (Other formats: E-book)
272 pages, 6 x 9, 31 illustrations

Engaging the Civil War


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About the Book

Contributors to this collection, public historians with experience at Civil War battle sites, examine key shifts in the Civil War and the context surrounding them to show that many chains of events caused the course of the war to change: the Federal defeats at First Bull Run and Ball’s Bluff, the wounding of Joseph Johnston at Seven Pines and the Confederate victory at Chancellorsville, the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation, the Federal victory at Vicksburg, Grant’s decision to move on to Richmond rather than retreat from the Wilderness, the naming of John B. Hood as commander of the Army of Tennessee, and the 1864 presidential election. In their conclusion, the editors suggest that the assassination of Abraham Lincoln might have been the war’s final turning point. 


Chris Mackowski and Kristopher D. White are co-founders of Emerging Civil War.
Mackowski, a professor of journalism and mass communication at St. Bonaventure University, is the editor in chief of Emerging Civil War, editor of the Engaging the Civil War series, and historian-in-residence at Stevenson Ridge. He has written or cowritten more than a dozen books on the Civil War.
White, the chief historian of Emerging Civil War, is the education manager at the Civil War Trust. He has cowritten several books with Chris Mackowski, including That Furious Struggle: Chancellorsville and the High Tide of the Confederacy, May 1–5, 1863.


“Rejecting the notion that the war hinged on a single pivot point or plot line, the editors have assembled nine vivid essays treating some of the war’s most consequential moments—from First Bull Run to the election of 1864. Skillfully tracking between the eastern and western theater and campaigns both military and political, the contributors remind that small events can cast large shadows. Even those well acquainted with the Civil War will rethink not only the relationships between individual battles but also the very cadence of our nation’s defining conflict.”—Brian Matthew Jordan, author, Marching Home: Union Veterans and Their Unending Civil War, Pulitzer Prize finalist

“Using their hands-on experiences to debate the existence of turning point or points in the Civil War, the editors and chapter authors present a fresh and pointed perspective that will cause readers to rethink what too often they are mistakenly sure are the undeniable facts about the pendulum of war.”—John F. Marszalek, executive director, Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library
“This tour de force of scholarship provides readers with a stimulating and engaging examination of factors often overlooked in standard works on the war.”—Ted Alexander, author, Antietam: The Bloodiest Day

"Edited by the co-founders of Emerging Civil War, a public history-oriented platform for sharing original scholarship about the American Civil War, Turning Points of the American Civil War is studiously researched, yet accessible to readers of all backgrounds. An index rounds out this excellent contribution to public and college library Civil War collections."---James A. Cox, editor-in-chief, Midwest Book Review