The Civil War…on your iPad

The elegant interface of The Civil War Today

I have discovered perhaps the coolest iPad app yet: The Civil War Today from History. (You know, the network formerly known as The History Channel that now runs more programs about the present than about history?  Yeah, that one.)

Presented as a daily 19th Century newspaper, The Civil War today brings new articles, photos and maps to your iPad every day. Features include “This Day in Civil War History,” “Quote of the Day,” “Photo of the Day,” “In the Headlines” (a scan of an actual newspaper from that date 150 years earlier,) photo gallery, battlefield maps, journal entries from participants (including President Lincoln,) a Civil War history quiz and, grimly enough, a daily update of casualties in the War.

It’s not just the daily updated content that makes the app so engaging, though. The entire app is presented in a 19th Century aesthetic – one that I will try very hard not to describe as steampunk. Photo and map scans are at very high resolution and can be zoomed to incredible detail.

In addition to the daily newspaper, there is a library of biographies, a pulldown menu of today’s articles for a more 21st Century navigation option, a glossary of Civil War terms, interchangeable backgrounds and the ability to share on Facebook and Twitter.

One clever little feature is labeled “Send a Telegram.” Clicking on it takes you to an interface wherein you can compose a tweet…using Morse Code! After about 20 minutes of trying to get the rhythm of a telegraph operator down, I sent the following tweet from the RSM account:

“JUST PURCHASED THE CIVIL WAR TODAY APP FOR IPAD. TWEETING THIS IN MORSE CODE. MORSE CODE SUCKS.”

The price of The Civil War Today may give you a bit of sticker shock; it’s $7.99. But for an app with all-new, rich, well-crafted content everyday for the next four years (and the ability to access past dates in the War as well) it is well worth the price. We’re a home schooling family, and our daughter is just now getting to the Civil War in her studies.  I plan to use this app with her everyday until she comes back around to the topic again in four years — just as the War will be winding down on our iPad. Even if you aren’t a home schooler, this app will be a fantastic way to bring the Civil War to life for your own children…or yourself.

The Civil War Today is only available on Apple’s iPad.

2 Responses to “The Civil War…on your iPad”

  1. Great review Wayne. I don’t think there are many people around me that even know about the anniversary of this most significant historical event. I’m looking forward to keeping up with the ongoings of the past with this app.

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