One Book, One Community
selection is:

For Cause & Comrades--
Why Men fought in the Civil War



Discussion Resources

About the Book

About One Book

Community Partners

Get Involved

Previous Book Selections

Contact Us

Library Home 


For Cause & Comrades
It is to this question--why did they fight-- that James McPherson, America's preeminent Civil War historian, now turns his attention. He shows that, contrary to what many scholars believe, the soldiers of the Civil War remained powerfully convinced of the ideals for which they fought throughout the conflict.

Motivated by duty and honor, and often by religious faith, these men wrote frequently of their firm belief in the cause for which they fought: the principles of liberty, freedom, justice, and patriotism. Soldiers on both sides harkened back to the Founding Fathers, and the ideals of the American Revolution.

They fought to defend their country, either the Union--"the best Government ever made"--or the Confederate states, where their very homes and families were under siege. And they fought to defend their honor and manhood. "I should not lik to go home with the name of a couhard," one Massachusetts private wrote, and another private from Ohio said, "My wife would sooner hear of my death than my disgrace." Even after three years of bloody battles, more than half of the Union soldiers reenlisted voluntarily. (from books.google.com)

About the author:
James M. McPherson
Initially moved to study the history of the South as a way of understanding the civil rights movement, James M. McPherson has become the preeminent expert on the Civil War and Reconstruction. His award-winning work provides detail, context and a modern perspective on one of America's most important historical periods. (from Barnes and Noble, Meet the Writer)

McPherson is the George Henry Davis `86 Professor of American History at Princeton University where he has taught since 1962. The author of eleven books on the Civil War era of American History, he won the Pulitzer Prize in History in 1989 for Battle Cry of Freedom.

McPherson won the 1998 Lincoln Prize awarded by Gettysburg College and the Gilder Lehrman institute of American History. It rewards the finest scholarly work in English on Abraham Lincoln, or the American Civil War soldier, or a subject relating to their era. In 2009, he was a joint winner of the Lincoln Prize for his Tried by War about Abraham Lincoln.

Library wins award for 2008 One Book One Community program.
Page updated August 2012