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A WORLD ON FIRE: BRITAIN'S CRUCIAL ROLE IN THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR By Foreman, Amanda (Author) Hardcover on 28-Jun-2011 [Hardcover]

Amanda Foreman
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Random House (28 Jun 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00589BXOK
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,430,675 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Amanda Foreman is the award-winning historian and internationally best-selling author of 'Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire' and 'A World on Fire'. She is also the recipient of the 1998 Whitbread Award for Biography. 'Georgiana' has been translated into a dozen languages and inspired a television documentary, a radio play starting Dame Judi Dench, and an Oscar winning feature film, 'The Duchess', staring Keira Knightley and Ralph Fiennes. 'A World on Fire' was published in the UK in fall 2010 to critical acclaim, and is slated for release in the US in summer 2011.

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English book

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
51 of 55 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
In the immortal advice to a tourist were I start to a journey into examining the American Civil War it wouldn't be from this point. By any standards "A World on Fire" by Amanda Foreman is a big narrative history which self proclaims itself to be "epic" in its title and it certainly is a beast when its comes to size (frankly my arm ached holding it) and scale amounting to 816 pages of narrative and a further 100+ of detailed sources. Some other reviewers have rightly complained about the lack of a bibliography. All I would say was that if one was added you would need to take our hernia insurance to read this book, although the lavish illustrations are some compensation.

Foreman's underpinning concept is however a very interesting angle namely a transatlantic view of the American civil war one of the most fascinating of all modern conflicts and which has attracted huge historical attention. Thus rather than another book primarily about the "usual suspects" namely Lincoln, Lee, Sherman, Grant and Forest we have a different set of protagonists most notably Lord Lyons the UK ambassador to Washington and possibly one of the most introverted men who ever lived; US Secretary of State William Seward already charted in humongous detail in Doris Kearns Goodwin's truly epic "Team of Rivals"; Charles Francis Adams the grandson of the great John Adams and US ambassador to the Court St James and the spiky Lord John Russell the English Whig and Liberal politician who served twice as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in the mid-19th century and was the Foreign Secretary throughout the course of the Civil War.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Critical Integrity 31 Jan 2011
By Merlin
I have just completed A World on Fire, Amanda Foreman's staggering achievement which has been compared to both Gone With The Wind and War and Peace by serious and eminent reviewers. Although I had read and admired Ms Foreman's previous book, Georgiana, the Duchess of Devonshire, I was half prepared to be disappointed based upon the high expectations I had following these and the other accolades she had already received. But no - to the contrary, over 5 glorious days I was swept away by the simple beauty of Ms Foreman's prose and her page turning story telling skills...She tackled one of the most forensically scrutinised subjects in history, the American Civil War and yet somehow she mined fresh and fascinating new perspectives. Her scope is vast and the historical sweep is global yet her book remains intimate and hugely entertaining!
Words like masterpiece, tour de force and magnificent are applied far too easily these days but it is without hesitation that I readily apply them now to Ms Foreman's latest book. Do not be daunted by its length...It is indeed as most reviewers have already declared, a towering achievement and a truly great read!
I have entitled my review "Critical Integrity" for a reason. Anyone who has actually completed a book ( published or not) knows so well that the lonely often selfish and endless journey is riddled with emotion, conflict, guilt, elation, disappointment and sleepless nights....It is never an easy journey. It may be thrilling and indeed in many ways it can be rewarding... Certainly it is always challenging....but it is never easy...
Published writers like all others in the hazardous arena of public opinion rightly face scrutiny of their work... Indeed the internet has empowered us all with the ability to express a personal view...
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly Epic 25 Jan 2011
By Mrs. K. A. Wheatley TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This book is an absolute monster. It weighs a tonne, the hardback edition coming in at over eight hundred pages of text, it was so heavy I could not read it in bed without straining my wrists. It seems daunting, not only in size, but in scope. It really is what the word epic was invented for.

Foreman attempts to cover a great deal of ground, and when you start to understand what she is doing, it is a wonder the book wasn't considerably weightier. It is an account of the history of the American Civil War, and a story about the people involved in it from their letters and firsthand accounts, as well as the history of the relations between Britain and America at the time. In the introduction she compares her attempt to the RSC's in the round production of Charles Dicken's Nicholas Nickleby, and terms her book as 'history in the round.'

I for one, really enjoyed this approach. I found it engaging and enthralling in equal measure. I understand other reviewers have taken issue with the historical accuracy of some of the points Foreman makes in the book. I cannot possibly comment on this, being about as far from expert on the history of the American civil war as you are likely to get. What I do know however is that in dealing with such a monumental event, in what is a relatively few number of pages, given the complexity of the subject matter, Foreman was always going to upset somebody. Not everything could be included. That her approach is more populist than academic textbook is an utter relief to me. If someone had said to me I would read the best part of 800 pages on the subject of the American Civil War and enjoy it, I would have found it hard to believe before reading this book.

Foreman writes with charm. She engages you as the reader.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars very well written account of Britains, and Britons involvement in the...
this is a very well written book, and despite its size I romped through it, due to its style and the adroit use of her research. i truly cannot understand those who say it is dry. Read more
Published 1 month ago by M. Julian
5.0 out of 5 stars History in Depth
This is a long and detailed account of a period in the history of Britain and America that I have found utterly absorbing, in that it makes clear the very wide range of factors... Read more
Published 1 month ago by JWB
5.0 out of 5 stars A rewarding read.
This is a balanced and well researched account of the American Civil War. With 75% of it yet to read I would not wish to sit in judgement, but I am enjoying it. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Mr. E. E. Gill
5.0 out of 5 stars Big Fan
Purchased for an Uncle who loves the author; I can't comment on the content but my Uncle raves about the book!
Published 7 months ago by Miss S Dark
5.0 out of 5 stars An international perspective on an American tragedy
A World on Fire is a remarkable achievement. It is a history of the American Civil War taken from the very novel perspective of the relationship between Britain and the US during... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Aidan J. McQuade
5.0 out of 5 stars bought for research
i used this for research on a project i am working on, it really fit the bill nicely. great book, thank you
Published 9 months ago by Catherine
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating history
Not finished yet! A lot of reading but what a lot of research has been done - wonderful insight into that particular war
Published 10 months ago by Pamela McCallum
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting book
I was attracted by the title - "BRITAIN'S crucial role in the Civil war"????? It had a role? I knew of the Trent Incident that brought the UK to the brink of war with the USA (and... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Teemacs
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read.
If you have any interest on 19th century history, American history or transatlantic history you will find this book an absolutely engrossing read. Read more
Published 12 months ago by J. Edwards
5.0 out of 5 stars A well informed, balanced & interesting history of the US civil war -...
`A World on Fire' is a proper, academic standard, history book. No one character or perspective dominates this history and I can detect no bias towards any of the parties involved. Read more
Published 12 months ago by G. Wake
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