Fields of Fury: The American Civil War

McPherson, James M. Fields of Fury: The American Civil War. 2002. 96pp. Lexile 970.

Straightforward writing, short chapters, and many illustrations make this an accessible chronological overview of the Civil War by a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian.  Each double-page spread has a full-page picture on the right-hand size.  The left side has text, a small sidebar of interesting facts, and two smaller pictures.  The endpapers provide a detailed time line and a map before the first chapter lays out the Union, Confederate, and border states; capitols; important rivers; and sites of key battles with their dates.  McPherson does an excellent job of providing an introduction without overwhelming the reader.  Many chapters focus on battles while others look at topics like the role of women; medical care; and families divided by the war.  An extensive glossary defines many military terms useful for studying any war.  Back matter also includes a bibliography; a list of Civil War websites; and an index.

Web Tie-ins:  The internet is rich with materials about the Civil War including photographs, other illustrations, speeches, maps, etc.  The American Memory Project at Library of Congress gives access to many materials in their collection (  A site related to LSU that has hundreds of links to other websites, some better than others, is the Index of Civil War Information Available on the Internet (  A link at the top of the home page for this site discusses evaluating websites.