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Silbey, one of America's most renowned political historians, offers a swiftly paced and compelling narrative of the Texas imbroglio, which included an exceptional cast of characters, from John C. Calhoun and John Quincy Adams, to James K. Polk and Martin Van Buren. We see how a series of unexpected moves, some planned, some inadvertent, sparked a crisis that intensified and crystallized the North-South divide. Sectionalism, Silbey shows, had often been intense, but rarely widespread and generally well contained by other forces. After Texas statehood, it became a driving force in national affairs, ultimately leading to Southern secession and Civil War.
With subtlety, great care, and much imagination, Joel Silbey shows that this brief political struggle became, in the words of an Alabama congressman, "the greatest question of the age" - and a pivotal moment in American history.
The “Pivotal Moments in American History” series seeks to unite the old and the new history, combining the insights and techniques of recent historiography with the power of traditional narrative. Each title has a strong narrative arc with drama, irony, suspense, and – most importantly – great characters who embody the human dimension of historical events. The general editors of “Pivotal Moments” are not just historians; they are popular writers themselves, and, in two cases, Pulitzer Prize winners: David Hackett Fischer, James M. McPherson, and David Greenberg. We hope you like your American History served up with verve, wit, and an eye for the telling detail!
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Steve on 03-15-11
Old Wine in New Bottles?
This book would have been more accurately titled, "The Van Buren Faction in the Democratic Party of the 1830s and 1840s, and How it Occassionally Relates to the Annexation of Texas." Texas annexation is completed about halfway through the book, yet the author continues to goes on and on about the "Hunkers" versus the "Barnburners" (don't ask). Perhaps the author got a book contact and decided to economize on his effort by incorporating material from previous works. That being said, the first half of the book is pretty interesting, and may be worth it if you get it on sale, as I did.
10 of 11 people found this review helpful
By Lynn on 05-10-11
Texas at the Crossroad?
In this volume, Joel Silbey turns his attention to the annexation of Texas by the Union. He argues that this was a prime turning point in the nation's history and the movement to the Civil War. Hisotorians, professional and otherwise, may disagree with Silbey's anlysis, but it is informative. Individuals interested in Texas history will benefit as well. The writing is clear and the reading of John H. Mayer is very good.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful