By Collin Hansen
Foolish, self-righteous northerners—that is to say, evangelicals—led America into a needless civil war and destroyed the credibility of their faith in the process. So argues historian David Goldfield in his new book, America Aflame: How the Civil War Created a Nation. Goldfield, the Robert Lee Bailey professor of history at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, adds to an already towering mountain of material published about the Civil War on the 150th anniversary of its start. But his extensive work stands out for a provocative, disturbing thesis supported sporadically over more than 600 pages that recount the war’s causes, progress, and aftermath.
Personal note: Collin Hansen has visited more Civil War battlefields than anyone I know.