The guns had scarcely cooled after Appomattox when historians began debating the causes of the American Civil War. Why had North and South grown apart? Had it been all about slavery as a moral question? Or were less visible economic interests at work? Perhaps the cultures of the two sections had finally produced irreconcilable differences. The debates continue to this day, with an occasional nugget of new information to spark revised interpretations. But nowhere is the reader likely to find a more brilliant and succinct analysis than in David Potter’s account of the major events that led to war.