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Eager reader of history, mystery, classics, biographies, steampunk, lit fic, science, scifi, and etc. My reviews are mostly positive--I rarely finish or write about books I don't enjoy. My TBR is too high for that.

A World on Fire: Britain's Crucial Role in the American Civil War

A World on Fire: Britain's Crucial Role in the American Civil War - Amanda Foreman

This long book about the British impact on the American Civil War follows the lives, motivations and impacts of so many people there is a thirteen page cast of characters, but I was mesmerized. In the preface Amanda Foreman writes that she treats all of the significant and many of the more minor individuals in A World on Fire as if she was writing their biographies, not just compiling a general history. Her attention to those details of both her American and British subjects brings their personalities and the Anglo-American world they lived in to life on the page. Seeing the Civil War from the shifting British point of view provided an absorbing look at how public opinion can evolve, and I learned much more about the course of the Civil War and the constraints political players on both sides of the Atlantic were under than I expected.


When I read A World on Fire I alternated between the ebook version I borrowed from my library, and the hardbound copy I bought once I realized it was a book I would want to continue to reference. The hardbound copy is large and heavy so the ebook alternative is much easier to hold, but the book is filled with many illustrations, maps and photographs which don't display well on small ereader screens; they might work better on a tablet. Having both copies for reading was ideal, but I'm glad the one I purchased is the more accessible ink on paper version.