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1861: The Civil War Awakening

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1861: The Civil War Awakening Cover

ISBN13: 9781400040155
ISBN10: 1400040159
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

As the United States marks the 150th anniversary of our defining national drama, 1861 presents a gripping and original account of how the Civil War began.

1861 is an epic of courage and heroism beyond the battlefields. Early in that fateful year, a second American revolution unfolded, inspiring a new generation to reject their parents’ faith in compromise and appeasement, to do the unthinkable in the name of an ideal. It set Abraham Lincoln on the path to greatness and millions of slaves on the road to freedom.

The book introduces us to a heretofore little-known cast of Civil War heroes — among them an acrobatic militia colonel, an explorer’s wife, an idealistic band of German immigrants, a regiment of New York City firemen, a community of Virginia slaves, and a young college professor who would one day become president. Adam Goodheart takes us from the corridors of the White House to the slums of Manhattan, from the mouth of the Chesapeake to the deserts of Nevada, from Boston Common to Alcatraz Island, vividly evoking the Union at this moment of ultimate crisis and decision.

Review:

"Goodheart, a historian and journalist who will be writing a column on the Civil War for the New York Times online, makes sophisticated use of a broad spectrum of sources for an evocative reinterpretation of the Civil War's beginnings. Wanting to retrieve the war from recent critics who dismiss the importance of slavery in the Union's aims, he reframes the war as 'not just a Southern rebellion but a nationwide revolution' to free the country of slavery and paralyzing attempts to compromise over it. The revolution began long before the war's first shots were fired. But it worked on the minds and hearts of average whites and blacks, slaves and free men. By 1861 it had attained an irresistible momentum. Goodheart shifts focus away from the power centers of Washington and Charleston to look at the actions and reactions of citizens from Boston to New York City, from Hampton Roads, Va., to St. Louis, Mo., and San Francisco, emphasizing the cultural, rather than military, clash between those wanting the country to move forward and those clinging to the old ways. War would be waged for four bitter years, with enduring seriousness, intensity, and great heroism, Goodheart emphasizes. 15 illus." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Review:

1861 is the best book I have ever read on the start of the Civil War. Sumter, secession, and Lincoln appear in a wonderfully fresh and illuminating light, supported by a cast of extraordinary players that few Americans know about. Penetrating, eloquent, and deeply moving, this is a classic introduction to the nation’s greatest conflict.” Tony Horwitz, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and author of Confederates in the Attic

Review:

"Combining a master historian's sure command of original sources and a novelist’s deft touch with character and narrative, Adam Goodheart has produced the young century's liveliest book about how a generation of remarkable and ordinary Americans alike variously provoked, resisted, and endured the dissolution of their country and the tragic march toward civil war. Major and minor characters, political movements, and whole towns and villages come alive under Goodheart's expert scrutiny. The result is that rarest of history books: a work of remarkable original scholarship crafted into an irresistible read." Harold Holzer, chairman of The Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation and author of Lincoln President-Elect

Book News Annotation:

Goodheart (Washington College, Maryland) and some of his students found an attic full of family papers spanning 13 generations of the owners' family, and among those papers was a bundle of documents tied up with a ribbon and labeled "1861." Those documents inspired his curiosity regarding what ordinary citizens and national leaders were thinking and how they were reacting to the shattering events that were unfolding. This study brings those questions to the forefront and offers a close look at "...how some people clung to the past, while others sought the future; how a new generation of Americans arose to throw aside the cautious ways of its parents and embrace the revolutionary ideals of it grandparents." Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

About the Author

Adam Goodheart is a historian, journalist, and travel writer. He will be writing a regular column on the Civil War for The New York Times online. He has written for National Geographic, Outside, Smithsonian, The Atlantic, GQ, and The New York Times Magazine, among others, and has worked as an editor of the Op-Ed page of The New York Times. He is a book reviewer for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and the New York Observer. He lives in Washington, D.C., and on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, where he is director of Washington College's C. V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience.

Table of Contents

A banner at daybreak: Charleston Harbor, December 1860 — Wide awake: Boston, October 1860 — The old gentlemen: Washington, January 1861 — Forces of nature: central Ohio, February 1861 — A shot in the dark: Charleston Harbor, April 1861 — The volunteer: lower Manhattan, April 1861 — Gateways to the west: lower Carson River, Nevada Territory, May 1861 — The crossing: Washington, May 1861 — Freedom's fortress: Hampton Roads, Virginia, May 1861 — Independence Day: Washington, July 1861.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Richard Zerbe, January 20, 2012 (view all comments by Richard Zerbe)
This book is about US culture viewed through the lens of just before and during the very early part of the U.S. Civil War. Battles are not the issues, personalities are. The view into events and people, many of whom we have not heard of, are the substance of the book. The characterizations of people and insights into their thinking, motivations and personalities are beautifully laid out. No other Civil War book that I know of gives a better feel for the cultural climate related to beginnings of the War. This is great history and great writing. Your interest will not flag.
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chadwick, September 2, 2011 (view all comments by chadwick)
An in-depth look at the opening salvo of the Civil War chronicling the shots fired on Fort Sumter, James Buchanan's bumbling, Lincoln's inauguration, the battle for California, etc. etc. 1861: The Civil War Awakening reads like an epic novel with a wide cast of characters and yet, Goodheart manages to keep everything in order and pushes the narrative forward towards the precipice of succession and civil unrest. Goodheart strongly illustrates how Americans in the 19th century truly saw themselves as living in revolutionary times, when they could change the course of American History and their country through fierce determination and fiery advocacy. If you read one book on the American Civil War in this anniversary year, this is the book. My only hope is that Goodheart does a book for each following year, chronicling on to the war's conclusion.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781400040155
Author:
Goodheart, Adam
Publisher:
Knopf Publishing Group
Subject:
United States / Civil War Period (1850-1877)
Subject:
US History-1800 to Civil War
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20110431
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
15 ILLUSTRATIONS IN TEXT
Pages:
496
Dimensions:
9.53 x 6.62 x 1.47 in 1.84 lb

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » American Studies » Featured Titles
History and Social Science » Military » Civil War » General
History and Social Science » Military » US Military » General
History and Social Science » US History » 1800 to Civil War

1861: The Civil War Awakening Used Hardcover
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$10.95 In Stock
Product details 496 pages Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group - English 9781400040155 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Goodheart, a historian and journalist who will be writing a column on the Civil War for the New York Times online, makes sophisticated use of a broad spectrum of sources for an evocative reinterpretation of the Civil War's beginnings. Wanting to retrieve the war from recent critics who dismiss the importance of slavery in the Union's aims, he reframes the war as 'not just a Southern rebellion but a nationwide revolution' to free the country of slavery and paralyzing attempts to compromise over it. The revolution began long before the war's first shots were fired. But it worked on the minds and hearts of average whites and blacks, slaves and free men. By 1861 it had attained an irresistible momentum. Goodheart shifts focus away from the power centers of Washington and Charleston to look at the actions and reactions of citizens from Boston to New York City, from Hampton Roads, Va., to St. Louis, Mo., and San Francisco, emphasizing the cultural, rather than military, clash between those wanting the country to move forward and those clinging to the old ways. War would be waged for four bitter years, with enduring seriousness, intensity, and great heroism, Goodheart emphasizes. 15 illus." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review" by , 1861 is the best book I have ever read on the start of the Civil War. Sumter, secession, and Lincoln appear in a wonderfully fresh and illuminating light, supported by a cast of extraordinary players that few Americans know about. Penetrating, eloquent, and deeply moving, this is a classic introduction to the nation’s greatest conflict.”
"Review" by , "Combining a master historian's sure command of original sources and a novelist’s deft touch with character and narrative, Adam Goodheart has produced the young century's liveliest book about how a generation of remarkable and ordinary Americans alike variously provoked, resisted, and endured the dissolution of their country and the tragic march toward civil war. Major and minor characters, political movements, and whole towns and villages come alive under Goodheart's expert scrutiny. The result is that rarest of history books: a work of remarkable original scholarship crafted into an irresistible read."
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