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Civil War Sketch Book

Drawings from the Battlefront

Harry L. Katz (Author), Vincent Virga (Author)

With a Preface by Alan Brinkley


A landmark collection featuring rare and sensational images of the Civil War.

At a time before the camera lens could capture the frenzy and terror of battle action, illustrators known as “Special Artists”—among them such famous draftsmen as Winslow Homer and Thomas Nast—created for the American public some of the most important and lasting images of the Civil War. Reporting for newspapers like Harper’s Weekly and Frank Leslie’s Illustrated News, the Specials brought a visceral immediacy to the clash, presenting rich and nuanced images of soldiers in the camps and sweeping panoramas of the great battles. The illustrations span the war and its many theaters, including rarely seen views of Shiloh, Antietam, Vicksburg, and Gettysburg, and the famous stampede of Union soldiers fleeing the Rebels at Bull Run. Gathering these images for the first time in fifty years, Civil War Sketch Book gives readers the sense that they are touching history, for the illustrations (some even stained with soldiers’ blood) represent priceless artifacts from our nation’s greatest conflict.

Book Details

  • Hardcover
  • May 2012
  • ISBN 978-0-393-07220-4
  • 12.3 × 10.3 in / 288 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide

Endorsements & Reviews

“These raw but deft on-the-spot sketches capture the Civil War battlefield as it really must have been—often confused, always fast-moving and sometimes terrifying. The artists who made them were nearly as courageous as the troops they followed. No one interested in the era should miss this handsome and revealing volume.” — Geoffrey Ward, coauthor with Ken Burns of The Civil War: An Illustrated History

“...Informatively presenting the artists and the circumstances of their sketches, Katz and Virga help us envision the Civil War as contemporaries would have visualized it through the magazines they read.” — Booklist

“These accounts, along with the sketches themselves and the narrative framework the authors provide, give this handsome volume—also a landmark in the study of pictorial journalism—a special immediacy that will appeal to Civil War buffs and many others. Most highly recommended.” — Library Journal

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