Short Essay Questions Key
1. What questions did the Princeton students have when McPherson took them to Gettysburg in the spring of 1976?
In the spring of 1976, when McPherson took several Princeton students to Gettysburg, the students essentially provided him with the origins of this book. As they stood on the field and looked over the site of Picket's Charge, the students began asking questions about what made the men at Gettysburg do what they did. They wanted to know how men could willingly march into a wall of firepower knowing that they'd likely not come out the other side. McPherson notes that while he was unable to answer those questions in a satisfactory manner at the time, they provided him with the idea for this book.
2. In "Chapter 1: This War is a Crusade," what difference does McPherson note between the Civil War and the Vietnam War?
In "Chapter 1: This War is a Crusade," McPherson quotes two people who note differences between the Civil War and the Vietnam War. The first says that the prevailing thought in Vietnam was to keep one's head down and get out alive; the other notes that you couldn't get American soldiers to behave in Vietnam the way they had during the Civil War. The major difference, according to McPherson, is that the belief structure that supported soldiers during the Civil War was not in place for the conflict in Vietnam.
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