The Seven-Day Scholar: The Civil War: Exploring History One Week at a Time

The Seven-Day Scholar: The Civil War: Exploring History One Week at a Time

by Dennis Gaffney, Peter Gaffney


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"A bite of history a day, all year long."

Flawless storytelling, expert research, and a whole new way of providing history in intriguing, one-page essays makes The Seven-Day Scholar: The Civil War a book that anyone interested in the topic will want on their bookshelf.

This volume in the Seven-Day Scholar series brings to life significant moments in our nation's heroic tragedy, the Civil War, and coincides with its 150th anniversary. The book is organized into fifty-two chapters, corresponding to the weeks in a year; and each week has a theme-what ignited the war, Antietam, soldiers' food and drink, the 54th Massachusetts, the Gettysburg Address, Vicksburg, medical care, Lincoln's assassination, why the North won, and many more. Each chapter includes seven related narrative entries, one for every day of the week. These one-page entries, which read like historical fiction, bring to life crucial political decisions, unforgettable people, key battlefield moments, scholarly debates, and struggles on the home front.

The book also explores many little-known episodes, answering questions such as:

  • Why did Jefferson and Varina Davis take in a mixed-race child during the war
  • What were the causes of riots in New York City and Richmond
  • Why was General William Sherman demoted for "insanity"
  • Why did the Union Army turn Robert E. Lee's estate into a cemetery
Entries also include follow-up resources where curious readers can learn more.

Readers can sweep through the book from beginning to end, or use it as a reference book, periodically dipping in and out of topics they want to explore. This is the perfect book for history buffs, and for those who missed out on learning about this captivating period in American history.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781401323745
Publisher: Hachette Books
Publication date: 05/10/2011
Pages: 496
Product dimensions: 5.68(w) x 9.52(h) x 1.48(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Peter Gaffney is the Vice President of Program Planning & Acquisitions for HISTORY Channel and A&E.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction xiii

Prelude to a War: Sparks before the Flame 1

Introduction 3

Week 1 Slavery and Its Discontents 4

Week 2 Going West, Pulling Apart 12

Week 3 Meteor of the Civil War John Brown 20

Week 4 Lincoln Is Elected-and the Deep South Secedes 28

The Country Explodes, The Cannon is Fired (1860-1861) 37

Introduction 39

Week 5 The Creation of the Confederate States of America 40

Week 6 Failed Compromises to Save the Union 48

Week 7 The Gun Is Fired-Fort Sumter 56

Week 8 Innocence Before the Slaughter 64

Week 9 Bull Run (Manassas)-the Great Skedaddle 72

Week 10 The Making and Unmaking of Soldiers, Spies, and Munitions Manufacturers 80

Week 11 Lincoln Resists a War of Freedom 88

A Bloody War-For Freedom (1862) 97

Introduction 99

Week 12 The War Is Pressed 100

Week 13 A Battle Named After a Church-Shiloh 108

Week 14 Ironclads 116

Week 15 The Naval War 125

Week 16 The First Cracks in the Institution of Slavery 133

Week 17 Of Privates and Generals-the Men Who Fought 141

Week 18 "On to Richmond!"-the Peninsula Campaign Begins 149

Week 19 The Peninsula Campaign and the Rise Robert E. Lee 157

Week 20 Women to the Rescue-Medical Care and Clara Barton 165

Week 21 The Bloodiest Day in American Military History-Antietam (Sharpsburg) 173

Week 22 Approaching the Emancipation Proclamation 182

Week 23 Signing the Emancipation Proclamation 190

Week 24 Fredericksburg-Northern Exasperation as Lee Triumphs Again 198

An All-Consuming Battle (1863) 207

Introduction 209

Week 25 A Brother's War, a Bitter War 210

Week 26 Food and Drink-the Edible, Inedible, and Coffee, Always 220

Week 27 Fire in the Rear-Lincoln and Antiwar Politicians Duke It Out 228

Week 28 More Dissent at Home-the Richmond Food Riot and the New York City Draft Riot 237

Week 29 More than Glory-the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Volunteer Regiment Is Born 245

Week 30 The Vicksburg Campaign 253

Week 31 The Siege of Vicksburg 261

Week 32 Stumbling into Battle-Gettysburg Unfolds as Another Confederate Victory 269

Week 33 The Battle Turns-Day Two and Day Three of Gettsyburg 277

Week 34 Gettysburg-the Aftermath 285

Week 35 The Gettysburg Address 293

Week 36 Chickamauga-the Confederates' Last Hurrah in the West 302

The People, Weary of War (1864) 311

Introduction 313

Week 37 Another Year of War 314

Week 38 The Overland Campaign-the Bloodiest of the War-Begins 322

Week 39 The Cold Harbor Fiasco 330

Week 40 Petersburg, and the Battle of the Crater 338

Week 41 August's Dark Days-Lincoln Expects to Lose His Reelection 346

Week 42 Union Triumphs in Georgia and in the Shenandoah Valley 354

Week 43 Prospects Darken for the Confederacy 362

The "Mighty Scourge" Ends, The Nation Is Transformed (1865) 371

Introduction 373

Week 44 The Beginning of the End 374

Week 45 The Death Throes of Slavery 382

Week 46 Finally on to Richmond 390

Week 47 The Road to Appomattox 398

Week 48 Prelude to an Assassination 406

Week 49 The Bitter End 414

Week 50 Why Did the North Win-or the South Lose? 422

Week 51 What Did the War Decide? 430

Week 52 What Became of Them? 438

Endnotes 447

Index 461

What People are Saying About This

Terrence J. Winschel

"A delightfully good volume that provides a clear, concise, and comprehensive presentation of the Civil War in all its complexity. . . . Had only such a volume been available when I was in school!" --(Terrence J. Winschel, historian, Vicksburg National Military Park, and author of Triumph & Defeat: The Vicksburg Campaign)

John Heiser

"For the reader, it will be easy to comprehend how and why the American Civil War still has an impact on our lives today, and is a perfect companion to take along while visiting one of our treasured battlefield parks." --(John Heiser, ranger and historian, Gettysburg National Military Park)

Jim Lighthizer

"The Gaffneys provide both seasoned enthusiasts and newcomers with an opportunity to learn about this tragic moment in American history." --(Jim Lighthizer, president and CEO, Civil War Trust)

Kathy Gorn

Praise for The Seven Day Scholar: The Civil War

Through compelling stories and carefully researched interpretations, the authors explain, analyze, and spark curiosity about the Civil War. The unique calendar format invites teachers, students, and families to discuss the multiple causes, the immediate impact, and the long-term legacy of our nation in conflict.
--(Cathy Gorn, executive director, National History Day)

Brent D. Glass

"This book takes readers on a comprehensive journey through the defining event in American history. Story by story, the authors describe the causes, conduct, and consequences of the Civil War in a text that is rich in content and accessible to scholars, teachers, students, and the general public." --(Brent D. Glass, historian)

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