Synopses & Reviews
A major history of Civil War America through the lens of its two towering figures: Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.
"My husband considered you a dear friend," Mary Todd Lincoln wrote to Frederick Douglass in the weeks after Lincoln's assassination. The frontier lawyer and the former slave, the cautious politician and the fiery reformer, the president and the most famous black man in America their lives traced different paths that finally met in the bloody landscape of secession, Civil War, and emancipation. Opponents at first, they gradually became allies, each influenced by and attracted to the other. Their three meetings in the White House signaled a profound shift in the direction of the Civil War, and in the fate of the United States.
In this first book to draw the two together, James Oakes has written a masterful narrative history. He brings these two iconic figures to life and sheds new light on the central issues of slavery, race, and equality in Civil War America.
"A sharp analysis....A readable account of the intersection of Lincoln and Douglass's careers, but an even better demonstration of the interplay between the agendas of passionate, single-minded reformers...and the talented politicians who master the art of the possible." Kirkus Reviews
"At first glance, Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass might seem to have been of one mind regarding slavery....However much they agreed about slavery, though, the two men differed considerably over how to end it. That quarrel animates James Oakes's riveting and original The Radical and the Republican." The Wall Street Journal
"[A]n eye-opening and absorbing account of their relationship....The Radical and the Republican is ideological more often than anecdotal and is not a light read. But the book succeeds quite well at charting the ups and downs of a complex and seminal relationship between two great men, both dedicated to making America live up to its loftiest ideals." Chuck Leddy, The Christian Science Monitor (read the entire CSM review)
A narrative history of the Civil War looks at the lives and careers of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, two men who played iconic roles during the era and who had a profound impact on the Civil War, slavery and emancipation, and race and equality.
In this major history of Civil War America as seen through the lens of its two towering figures, Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, Oakes presents a masterful narrative history that brings these two iconic figures to life and sheds new light on the central issues of slavery, race, and equality during the era.
About the Author
James Oakes, professor of history at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, is the author of acclaimed works on slavery and the South. He lives in New York City.