From a soldier's diary (with the pencil still attached) to John Brown's pike, from the Emancipation Proclamation to a Confederate Palmetto flag—and the leaves from Abraham Lincoln's bier—this is a unique and surprisingly intimate look at the Civil War through 50 artifacts in the collection of the New-York Historical Society, illustrated in color photos and reproductions. Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer sheds new light on the United States at that time and on the war itself by examining such items as a daguerreotype of an elderly, dignified ex-slave, whose unblinking stare still mesmerizes; a soldier's footlocker still packed with its contents; and Grant's handwritten terms of surrender at Appomattox.
"Accompanied by beautifully written and incisive essays ... the book's 50 artifacts have been well selected in an effort to emphasize the personal, human aspects of the conflict. The contents of a footlocker belonging to a Union officer are both informative and eerily intimate.... A lithograph printed by the virulently anti-Lincoln New York World attempts to stoke fears of miscegenation during the 1864 political campaign. A letter written by a New Yorker who chose to fight for the Confederacy is both passionate and poignant, considering that he later gave his life for the cause. For both Civil War buffs and general readers, this collection should be a treasure."—Booklist (starred review)