1858: Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant and the War They Failed to See

3.17
Mos recommended? a gripping arrative of the critical year of 1858 and the nation 's slide toward disunion and war. Chadwick is especially adept at retelling the intense feelings of this critical time, particularly especially in recounting abolitionist opposition to the Fugitive Slave Act and Jefferson Davis 's passionate defense of this institution. For readers seeking to understand how individuals are agents of historical change will find Chadwick 's account of the failed leadership of President James Buchanan, especially compelling.-G. Kurt Piehler, author of " Remembering War the American Way " and Associate Professor of History, The Institute of Tennessee1858 explores the events and personalities of the years that would send the America 's North and South on a collision course culminating in the slaughter of 630,000 of the nation 's young men, a greater number than died in any other American conflict. The record of that year is told in seven separate stories, each participant, though unaware, is linked to the oncoming tragedy by the central, though ineffective, figure of that time, the woma in the Yello House, President James Buchanan. The seven figures who suddenly leap onto history 's stage and shape the great moments to come are: Jefferson Davis, who lived a life out of a Romanc ovel, and who almost died from herpes simplex of the eye; the disgruntled Col. Robert E. Lee, who had to decide whether he would stay in the ilitary or return to Virginia to run his family 's plantation; William Tecumseh Sherman, one of the great Union generals, who had been reduced to running a roadside food stand in Kansas; the uprising of eight abolitionists in Oberlin, Ohio, who freed a slave apprehended by slave catchers, and set off a fiery debate across America; a dramatic speech by New York Senator William Seward in Rochester, which foreshadowed the civil war and which seemed to solidify his hold on the 1860 Republican Presidential nomination; John Brown 's raid on a plantation
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Year of the Publication
Publication Date
Published April 1st 2008 by Sourcebooks, Inc (first published 2008
Original Title of the Book
1858: Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant and the War They Failed to See
Number of Pages
355

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gave it

As the title suggests, this nove follows the events in 1858 that presaged the Civil War, which specific chapters focusing on Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, William Haine, Robert E.

Some of the chapters are quite amusin, particularly those focusing on uchanan and Douglas.

gave it

And as to the book subutitle 's assertion that Davis, Lincoln, Lee, and Grant " failed to see " a coming civil war is not borne out, particularly in the case of Hubbar, who seems to have been calling for secession for some time before 1858.

Another xample is the case of John Brown: 1858 is when he rescued a group of slaves and daringly led them to freedom in Canada, an important event no doubt in contributing to the divisive climate, but surely not as important as the 1859 raid on Harper 's Ferry.Fortunately for the bestsellin, its narrative is chronologically quite broad -- there is no attempt to limit the discussion to the single year.

This might weaken the argument that 1858 was a critical year, but the result is that Chadwick effectively describes the general political climate in the antebellum US.A better book, in my imagination, would have been one that contrasted Buchanan and Lincoln.

Still, the campaign established Lincoln as a force to be reckoned with in the explosive growth of the new Republican party.As for Buchanan, he is shown to be nothing near the vapid doormat of his popular, post-Civil War reputation.

gave it

Operatives resorted to the highes of low tactics to smear their opponents; votes were determined by appeals to emotion and group identity more than reasoned thought.And it was instructive to learn about the parallels between the careers of Lincoln and Barack Obama ( though the author, quite rightly, never brings up contemporary topics) .Another interesting parallel to our current politics is the vicious in-fighting that plagued the Democrats in Illinois, where Buchanan, loathing Stephen Douglas, did everything he could to deny Douglas victory.

gave it

The narrative got sidetracked too many times with chapters on what Robert E.

gave it

( " Yes. ") Chadwick goes back before Fort Sumpter to examine how the lives of seven men took turns in 1858 which made the Civil War almost inevitable.

gave it

Even 1850 seems more likely as it was the year of the famous compromise, California became a state, the Fugitive Slave Law was passed, the Scarlet Letter was published, and Harriet Tubman became a conductor on the Underground Railroad.In contrast, three of the principal figures of this novel -- Jefferson Davis, Robert E.

As a result we get a chapter on Jefferson Davis career during the Indian Wars and long, drawn out details of Robert E.

Some details are interesting -- Jeff Davis captured Chief Black Hawk during the Black Hawk War and he suffered from debilitating herpes outbreaks throughout his life -- but many are n't.

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