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.
"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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Well written history, told in a narrative form that is both insightful and interesting.
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.
I have not.
It was a very thoughtful and sober analysis of the darkest period in our nations history.
I recommend this to anyone who was to understand the history of the US.
- thomas "I focus mainly on History, Endurance Sports and Science/Speculative Fiction books."
Refreshing and challenging
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.
Thomas Jefferson was a compelling figure. A genuinely twisted individual.
The Haitian uprising and America's near hysterical silence on the matter.
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.
I had the pleasure of reading this, and then listening to it, both methods are satisfactory.
- Donald Bullard