by Adam Goodheart Print book  |  1st edition
Absorbing Views of Civil War's Beginning, Both Civilian and Military   (2011-12-30)
I loved this book so much I felt let down when I clicked next page on my Kindle and saw I was at the last chapter. (Part of the let-down might be explained that by the title's promise that the book would cover 1861, when it really only goes through Lincoln's message to Congress in 1861, followed by a chapter of epilogues following up on the figures discussed in earlier chapters.
Goodheart has read widely, in published works and archival materials, and it shows in the text (as well, of course, in the endnotes). He takes us around the country to show the national scope of the nascent war. He begins with Charleston Harbor and the building tension between the massing Confederate troops and the small federal force at Fort Sumter. Other chapters discuss the clash of slavery and anti-slavery forces in St. Louis (a version of this was published in The American Scholar), young professor and state representative James A. Garfield in Ohio, Thomas Starr King and Jessie Fremont in California, the Zouaves regiment formed of volunteers from New York fire brigades, and more.
I recommend this highly.
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