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The Longest Night: A Military History of the Civil War


Author David J. Eicher

An essential starting point for anyone who wants to know how and why the Civil War came out as it did...No matter what you are looking for regarding the military history of the Civil War, you are likely to find it in this book - and you will enjoy a good read at the same time.' From the foreword by James M. McPherson

'Like no other conflict in our history, the Civil War casts a long shadow onto modern America,' writes David Eicher. In his compelling new account of that war, Eicher gives us an authoritative modern battle history that spans the entire war.

Although there are other one-volume histories of the American Civil War - most notably James M. McPherson's Pulitzer Prize-winning Battle Cry of Freedom - The Longest Night is strictly a military history. It covers hundreds of engagements on land and sea. The often neglected Western theatre, and the naval actions along the coasts and the major rivers are at last given their due. Such major battles as Gettysburg and Chancellorsville are, of course, described in detail, but Eicher also examines lesser-known battles such as Sabine Pass, Texas and Fort Clinch, Florida. The result is a gripping popular history that will fascinate anyone learning about this war for the first time while at the same time offering more than a few surprises for longtime students. The Longest Night draws on hundreds of sources and includes numerous excerpts from letters and diaries by the soldiers who fought the war. Eicher analyses each side's evolving strategy and examines the tactics of Lee, Grant, Johnston, Sherman and other leading figures. He also discusses such militarily significant topics as prisons, railroads, shipbuilding, clandestine operations and the expanding role of African Americans in the war.

The Longest Night is a riveting, indispensable history of the war that James M. McPherson calls 'the most dramatic, violent and fateful experience of American history'.

'The Longest Night is a remarkable blend of scholarship and writing. It should stand for a long time as the best and most complete single-volume military history of the Civil War. A splendid achievement.' Jeffrey D. Wert, author of The Gettysburg: Day Three

'Eicher establishes himself as a remarkable battle narrator. He does set pieces with the verve of Shelby Foote or Wiley Sword. His accounts of Antieam and Gettysburg, Stone's River and Chickamauga, are models of clarity and cohesion.' Publishers Weekly

'A comprehensive military overview...he ably presents delicious nuggets of information... The Longest Night will surely be an important reference work for students of the war.'
Jay Winik, New York Times Book Review

' The Longest Night is perhaps the most useful and versatile study of the Civil War since Battle Cry for Freedom. It should prove indispensible to military historians and Civil War buffs alike.' Civil War Times

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