Louis P. Masur is Distinguished Professor of American Studies and History at Rutgers University. His many books include Lincoln's Last Speech: Wartime Reconstruction and the Crisis of Reunion (OUP, 2015), Lincoln's Hundred Days: The Emancipation Proclamation and the War for the Union, and the real war will never get in the books : Selections from Writers during the Civil War (OUP, 1993).
This book delivers far more than its title suggests, as it is a concise history of not merely the Civil War, but the entire Civil War era. By a masterful melding of the techniques of Bruce Catton's lively narrative storytelling and the scholarly craftsmanship typified by T. Harry Williams and Shelby Foote, Louis P. Masur has written a book that should appeal to the widest audience - including lay readers, students, and academics - interested in the Civil War... This book is an essential addition to everyone's Civil War collections. - Civil War History If you want to cut to the chase, this is the volume for you. -Forbes.com Fresh and amazingly brief. * Salon * Masur performs a miracle by providing a concise but compelling narrative of the Civil War era, packing in the critical information to track the trajectory of secession, war, emancipation, and Reconstruction...Highly recommended. * Library Journal * An ideal guide. Masur's deft touch is reflected in the judicious way he mines his material, which includes analysis for the set of illustrations included in the text. One finishes this book, whether read over the course of hours or months, with a sense of having traced the outlines of a vast historiographic territory. * History News Network * For the reader uneasy with any study more than general-interest, this book is the first one that the anticipating librarian should place in such a person's hands. It is an immaculate overview that quickly gets to the heart of the matter, precisely surveying, with keen insight, the slippery slope to war's outbreak, which was paved with increasingly bitter opposing views on slavery and states' rights and territorial expansion; along the way, the concept of nullification added its own coat of slipperiness. -Booklist, Starred Review In this concise history of the Civil War, Louis Masur makes good on his promise 'to explain what happened, how it transpired, and what it all meant.' A great deal happened in that war, and it meant more than any other event in American history. Masur covers all the important points of this dramatic story with a deft pen that carries the reader through those crowded years with remarkable clarity and understanding. -James M. McPherson, author of Battle Cry of Freedom Louis Masur's history of the Civil War is extraordinarily deft and balanced, featuring a judicious choice of primary source quotations. -Elizabeth Varon, University of Virginia A succinct, highly readable account, Masur's book conveys both the drama and the complexity of America's greatest moral and political crisis. - Jacqueline Jones, author of Saving Savannah: The City and the Civil War Louis P. Masur has done a splendid job of explaining why the Civil War came, how it unfolded, and what Union victory meant. His ability to bring clarity to such a complex subject in so few pages makes this a wonderful place for anyone to begin an exploration of the most important period in American history. -Gary W. Gallagher, author of The Confederate War A short history of the Civil War is a daunting task to say the least, so complex and wide-ranging is the story, yet Louis P. Masur has accomplished the task not only with remarkable all-inclusiveness, but with considerable perception, and not a little genuine eloquence. The result is surely the finest account in brief compass that we have. * William C. Davis, Virginia Center for Civil War Studies, Virginia Tech * Masur's pocket-sized chronological account of the Civil War packs a powerful punch It is hard to overstate this accomplishment, as so many have tried before and failed. * H-Net *