Thanks to the McWhiney Foundation Press for sending me an advance copy of John Waugh's 20 Good Reasons to Study the Civil War. This is one of those books you may want to argue with from the outset. I will resist that temptation and present Waugh's list of 20 reasons for your own enjoyment or aggravation. (Each argument represents a chapter in the book.)

1. Because it was unique.
2. Because it was a watershed in American history.
3. Because it was a war of firsts.
4. Because it saved republican government.
5. Because it killed slavery.
6. Because it originated new ways of waging war.
7. Because it revolutionized war on the water.
8. Because it teaches us brotherhood.
9. Because it showcases an undaunted courage.
10. Because it made heroes.
11. Because it created a new industrial America.
12. Because it produced men of fabulous fortunes.
13. Because it was a war of political oddities.
14. Because it pioneered a new journalism.
15. Because it inspired great literature.
16. Because it tested our faith.
17. Because it is our own direct tie to the past.
18. Because it makes us remember.
19. Because it is great drama.
20. Because it speaks to us still.

(It still produces men of fabulous fortunes.)