The word “experience” in the title of this book fits - it is a wonderful experience! The book is packed with all kinds of interesting material. Intended to celebrate the 140th anniversary of the end of the Civil War, it has many photographs from the Civil War period, colorful maps, and both color and black and white illustrations.
There are twenty-seven chapters discussing various topics of the Civil War, but this is not meant to be an exhaustive treatise on the Civil War; it is mainly a hands-on book. One feature to Wertz’s coffee-table volume is the many chapter-related facsimiles placed in pockets; there are usually two or more of these in various sizes per chapter. One can examine a copy of a page from a diary, a newspaper clipping, Confederate money, official reports, telegrams, and many other things.
A joy for Civil War enthusiasts, this is a great resource for readers of all ages to use and enjoy. Teachers in elementary schools, high schools and even college professors could use this book as a visual aids in sections on the American Civil War. Another great feature of this book is the included CD with over an hour of twenty-seven tracks, each accompanying one chapter, of music and actors reading from diaries, letters and other accounts. Unfortunately, libraries may have to keep this book in the reference section and under close watch, since some people might like to keep the facsimiles.
John Wertz is the co-author of Smithsonian’s Great Battles and Battlefields of the Civil War (1997) with Edwin C. Bearss. He is also the producer-director of the award-winning 13-part documentary series Smithsonian’s Great Battles of the Civil War for the Learning Channel.