The non-fiction book, “What They Fought For,” by James McPherson, talks about the motivations that influenced the soldiers who fought the Civil War. This book was curved from letters sent by the soldiers to their parents and friends, and also the lectures given by the author at the university. The book has various ideologies and themes, but this paper seeks to find out the effectiveness of the book to the general audience, that is if the author was able to meet the needs of the readers.
To begin with, James McPherson was active in his writing because he was able to explore a fascinating thesis. His argument stated “that soldiers, both north and south, fought to a considerable extent for ideology, and not solely as brothers in arms with the troops, for ideals of manhood, for the notions of honour and duty..” among others. He achieved this by going through all the letters and diaries that the soldiers wrote. In the introduction, the author talks of the various motivators, but also notes that his thesis is a combination of other perspectives and that most soldiers had no idea of what they were fighting.
Through the letters and diaries, he is also able to bring out some of the causes that the soldiers were fighting for, that is independence, liberty and to preserve the declaration of independence that the founding fathers defended. It was a good read because the author was useful in helping the reader understand what the soldiers in grey and blue defended.
The author is also able to explain his thesis in a brief and precise manner which is an exciting effort on his part.
According to the letters and diaries of the soldier, the goals of fighting in the war were to fight for liberty and independence. The last chapter also talks about the only way to end the Civil War, which is by putting an end to slavery.