American Civil War

Facts and Fictions

by James R. Hedtke


The government under the Articles of Confederation outlawed slavery in the Northwest Territories 24 years before Abraham Lincoln was born, and 18 states abolished slavery before he became president.

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Cover image for American Civil War

August 2018


Pages 225
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics American History/General
  Popular Culture/General

This book debunks popular myths and misconceptions about the American Civil War through primary source documents and shows how misinformation can become so widespread.

The American Civil War deeply divided the nation and was a pivotal point in American history. The acrimony and bitterness of this four-year struggle, coupled with its importance to the fabric of American life, has resulted in the development and perpetuation of many myths about the conflict.

This work separates myth from reality. The author examines 10 popular myths about the war, each of which is examined in terms of its origins and how it became ensconced in the American memory. It uses primary sources to explain the evolution of the myths and to inform the reader about what really happened, providing a unique quality to this work. Moreover, the book not only explains the flaws in the myth but encourages the reader to further investigate each of the topics.


  • Provides readers with a clear understanding of how myths about the Civil War originated and propagated in American memory
  • Debunks popular myths with facts supported by primary sources
  • Provides students with the resources to conduct their own research into each topic area
  • Examines controversial myths that continue to have a large impact on American politics and society today, including popular misconceptions about the very origins of the Civil War
Series Description

Historical Facts and Fictions

Did Nero really fiddle while Rome burned? Did the Egyptians really worship animals and gods with animal heads? History is full of misconceptions that have been passed down as historical facts and become rooted in the popular imagination. This series explores historical fictions and what we now believe to be historical truths. Each book focuses on a particular topic, such as a period, event, civilization, movement, religion, or person, and explores roughly 10 misconceptions. Chapters summarize the misconception, discuss how it arose and was propagated, explain what is now taken as historical fact, and provide relevant primary source document excerpts. The series helps readers think critically about the past and prepares them to be equally critical of the present.
Author Info

James R. Hedtke, PhD, is professor of history and political science at Cabrini University, Radnor, PA, where he has taught for 45 years. He is author of Lame Duck Presidents: Myth or Reality, Civil War Professional Soldiers, Citizen Soldiers, and Native American Soldiers of Genesee County, New York: Ordinary Men of Valor, and The Freckleton, England, Air Disaster: The B-24 Crash That Killed 38 Preschoolers and 23 Adults, August 23, 1944. He has won the Lindback Award for excellence in teaching.



"Hedtke writes with scope and clarity throughout, his selection of primary sources lending his arguments an extra level of credibility, enabling him to be direct without being preachy. Clearly written and judiciously compiled,American Civil War is a welcome addition to any general research collection."ARBA

In the News

Delaware County Daily Times, Community: Cabrini prof's new book separates Civil War fact from fiction, 9/6/2018

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