Book Review: A World on Fire: Britain’s Crucial Role in the American Civil War

It is not often that I start a review off with a warning, but as good as this book is I feel that this time I need to. Clocking in at just over 1,000 pages tackling this book is going to be a huge project. It is full of fantastic and sometimes dense information that can sometimes seem a little overwhelming. Even as a historian and someone used to tomes such as this I had to walk away from it for periods of time to let it all sink in. Does that make it a bad book? No, not all, but it does make it a commitment. One that I recommend.

If you stick with you will come away with a good understanding about the role that Great Britain played during the Civil War and how its actions and reactions shaped policy for both sides. From the very real possibility that the United States could be facing a war with Britain while fighting the Confederacy to the crisis of conscience in regards to slavery the permeated the halls of Parliament, this book covers a lot of ground. It does it well, I have no quibbles about the style or substance. There is just a lot of it!

When it came out in 2011 it won a number of awards and ended up on a number of “best of” lists, and all well deserved. Click the cover to see more about it.

Though I recommend it, I only do so to those willing to take the journey with it. Certainly not a jumping on point, but if you want a different perspective of the Civil War, this is a god book for you.