The Whirlwind of War


The Whirlwind of War

Voices of the Storm, 1861-1865

Stephen B. Oates

864 pages


April 2012


$39.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

The Whirlwind of War builds on the great themes and follows many of the important figures who were introduced in The Approaching Fury. Stephen B. Oates’s riveting narrative brings to life the complex and destructive war that is the central event in American history. He writes in the first person, assuming the viewpoints of several of the principal figures: the rival presidents, Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis; the rival generals, Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant, and William Tecumseh Sherman; the great black abolitionist, editor, and orator, Frederick Douglass; the young Union battlefield nurse, Cornelia Hancock; the brilliant head of the Chicago Sanitary Commission and cocreator of the northern Sanitary Fair, Mary Livermore; the Confederate socialite and political insider, Mary Boykin Chesnut; the assassin, John Wilkes Booth; and the greatest poet of the era, Walt Whitman, who speaks in the coda about the meaning of war and Lincoln's death.

Author Bio

Stephen B. Oates is Kendall Professor of History Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts–Amherst and has published eighteen books, including With Malice Toward None: A Biography of Abraham Lincoln and The Approaching Fury: Voices of the Storm, 1820–1861 (Nebraska 2012). He is a recipient of the Nevins-Freeman Award of the Chicago Civil War Round Table for lifetime achievement in the field of Civil War studies.


“A sweeping, fast-moving story, smoothly readable, broader in scope than many one-volume histories of the war.”—New York Times Book Review

“A realistic, engaging narrative.”—Omaha World Herald

“Oates takes us to the center of the action while breathing life into historical figures. . . . Riveting reading.”—Library Journal

“In The Whirlwind of War, Stephen B. Oates once again takes a daring approach to the task of giving history back to the people. Challenging, interesting, innovative, his technique opens windows onto the minds and hearts of good people on all sides who simply could not avoid the vortex that consumed them.”—William C. Davis, author of Jefferson Davis: The Man and His Hour

“Questions [about the Civil War] have been asked by historians and novelists for generations but put into the first person they gain poignancy and . . . suspense. In The Whirlwind of War . . . Oates’s intensive research has brought new light to some of the more complex issues of the time.”—Washington Post Book World

“Oates does a masterful job of weaving the profound themes the country was struggling with at the time of the war.”—Buffalo News

Table of Contents

The Winds of 'Sixty-One
The Winds of 'Sixty-Two
The Winds of 'Sixty-Three
The Winds of 'Sixty-Four
The Winds of 'Sixty-Five

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