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Book Review: April 1865

April 1865

By Jay Winick



Harper-Collins




Like American history and the Civil War era in particular? If so, head to the Nevada County Library and check out Jay Winick’s latest offering, “April 1865,” a history that reads more like a novel. Winick points out that April 1865 may have been the most trying and dangerous month our nation ever experienced. Hard to imagine after Sept. 11, but consider some of his points:

With Richmond captured, Jefferson Davis was encouraging his generals to disperse the remainder of the Confederate forces and continue the struggle as guerrillas. Fortunately, the generals refused, and even encouraged their troops to cease hostilities and return to their homes as loyal citizens.

According to Winick, Lincoln’s assassination nearly pushed the North over the edge into the radical Republican camp, which demanded the South be punished. These occurrences, happening in close succession at the end of the war, nearly tore the nation apart. Interestingly, Northern voices for reason and forgiveness came from Generals Grant and Sherman. Both offered very lenient surrender terms, hoping this would hasten the reunification of the nation.

This approach restored the Union in the end, and the nation went about its long healing.

Dennis Carr

Penn Valley


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