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Publisher's Summary

By the time his body hung from the gallows for his crimes at Harper’s Ferry, abolitionists had made John Brown a "holy martyr" in the fight against Southern slave owners. But Northern hatred for Southerners had been long in the making. Northern rage was born of the conviction that New England, whose spokesmen and militia had begun the American Revolution, should have been the leader of the new nation. Instead, they had been displaced by Southern "slavocrats" like Thomas Jefferson. And Northern envy only exacerbated the South’s greatest fear: race war. In the 60 years preceding the outbreak of civil war, Northern and Southern fanatics ramped up the struggle over slavery. By the time they had become intractable enemies, only the tragedy of a bloody civil war could save the Union.
In this riveting and character-driven history, one of America’s most respected historians traces the "disease in the public mind" - distortions of reality that seized large numbers of Americans - in the decades-long run-up to the Civil War.
©2013 Thomas Fleming (P)2013 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"The prolific Fleming, for decades a fixture among American historians, pinpoints public opinion as the proximate origin of the war.… Making a plausible presentation of antebellum attitudes and illusions, Fleming is sure to spark lively discussion about the Civil War." ( Booklist)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By thomas on 07-22-16


What made the experience of listening to A Disease in the Public Mind the most enjoyable?

Well written history, told in a narrative form that is both insightful and interesting.

What did you like best about this story?

The context of the era helps to understand how the Civil War started and why it continued. A devastating series of events that we should be mindful of today.

Have you listened to any of William Hughes’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I have not.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It was a very thoughtful and sober analysis of the darkest period in our nations history.

Any additional comments?

I recommend this to anyone who was to understand the history of the US.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Donald Bullard on 07-12-16

Refreshing and challenging

What did you love best about A Disease in the Public Mind?

The reevaluation of Colonial thru Civil War history can never be over mined. Thomas Fleming deserves props for this refreshing examination of what was going on in America in regards to slavery. Many questions we face today including the politics of race are embedded in the discussion from this earlier period.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Thomas Jefferson was a compelling figure. A genuinely twisted individual.

Which scene was your favorite?

The Haitian uprising and America's near hysterical silence on the matter.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Truly moment after moment the story was compelling. Reading about men moved from the colonial period to end slavery, and the end of slavery in the north. I was also surprised at how much history is neglected and forgotten in the modern narrative. When you finish this you realize that whole levels of understanding can be added to the Civil War and what it meant to American, then and now.

Any additional comments?

I had the pleasure of reading this, and then listening to it, both methods are satisfactory.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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