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Marc Schulman’s Civil War: America’s Epic Struggle confirms the potential of CD-ROM technology: the two-disc program stores and quickly recalls vast amounts of information–enhancing text with graphics, Animation, and sound–all in a package weighing just a few ounces. But this particular title provides only a basic introduction to the Civil War; it includes little original research or insightful analysis. The voice-over battle narratives are sketchy, and the photo album of generals provides little useful information. It does, however, include numerous first-person accounts of events and an impressive library of more than3,000 digitized photographs, drawings, and maps for the user to browse through.

Schulman also provides a thorough chronology of the war’s events. “Buttons” in the margins of the chronology call up more information about events, persons, and documents mentioned, but the program won’t help you search the text for specific information. Instead, it makes you page through the chronology to find dates where people and events are mentioned.

As a reference tool, then, the program leaves a lot to be desired. As an introduction to the war, on the other hand, it’s fun. It includes illustrated studies of medicine, technology, and railroads, and an exhaustive naval chronology supplemented by dozens of photos. For those just beginning to explore Civil War history, it is an interesting and accessible overview to the war’s events. For those already familiar with the topic, the principle value of this CD-ROM will be the novelty of its medium.

Civil War: America’s Epic Struggle by Marc Schulman, MultiEducator, New Rochelle, NY, two CD-ROM discs, $79.95

Dyon Stefanon