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A master Civil War historian re-creates the final year of our nation’s greatest crisis.

With Tarnished Victory William Marvel concludes his sweeping four-part series—this final volume beginning with the Virginia and Atlanta campaigns in May 1864 and closing with the final surrender of Confederate forces in June 1865. In the course of that year the war grows ever more deadly, the home front is stripped to fill the armies, and the economy is crippled by debt and inflation, while the stubborn survival of the Confederacy seriously undermines support for Lincoln’s war.

In the end, it seems that Lincoln’s early critics, who played such a pivotal role at the start of the series, are proven correct. Victory did require massive bloodshed and complete conquest of the South. It also required decades of occupation to cement the achievements of 1865, and the failure of Lincoln’s political heirs to carry through with that occupation squandered the most commendable of those achievements, ultimately making it a tarnished victory. Marvel, called the “Civil War’s master historical detective” by Stephen Sears, has unearthed provocative details and rich stories long buried beneath a century of accumulated distortion and misinterpretation to create revisionist history at its best.

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