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The topic of the Civil War has been all around us since April. Recently there has been a bevy of programs, symposiums, exhibits, etc. all relating to some aspect of the Civil War in this blog. Why? Because even though the Civil War officially ended 146 years ago, it is ever present in the minds of many Americans. Let's suppose, though, that you are of a more academic bent and want to delve deeper than a short lecture, or a quick run-through of an exhibit or display can provide:
Longtime readers know that I often draw from the History Channel Club e-newsletter. Here's an opportunity to audit an Ivy League college course, on the Civil War and Reconstruction era, for free - without having to dress for class:
Didn't make the cut to major in U.S. history at Yale? Not to worry. Now you can attend virtually — without student loans — to achieve more than a passing knowledge of the Civil War and its times. Recorded in 2008 for the school's Yale Open Courses , history professor David Blight —director of Yale's Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition , and the author of numerous books on the Civil War and its aftermath (his final presentations on Reconstruction are particularly involving)—offers 27 hour-long lectures in a course titled "The Civil War and Reconstruction Era, 1845-1877 ."
The online classroom features transcripts of all 27 lectures, the course outline, and a syllabus of recommended readings.
You have several options for downloading the classroom sessions: iTunes, as mp3 files, or as video files for your computer (high or medium bandwidth). You can even "test" yourself by answering the Final Exam  questions.