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Charles Sumner Paperback – August 21, 1996

5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A one-volume edition of Donald's two books on 19th-century radical reformer Donald.

Copyright 1996 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 1152 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press (August 21, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306807203
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306807206
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.4 x 2.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,081,829 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
This is a thorough biography of the stubborn Charles Sumner, once the toast of both aristocratic England and the Boston Brahmins alike, but who is best known for getting his head bashed by Preston Brooks right on the Senate floor in 1856. Donald's 1960 work is a good, although not great, read and better than his more recent Lincoln biography, another Pulitzer Prize winner. (Youthful exhuberance, perhaps?) If you need any evidence of its staying power, check out the price tag that mirrors much more recent work. The demand remains high for good material, and Donald's biography is just that.
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Format: Paperback
David Herbert Donald's "Charles Sumner" is an exhaustive biography touching all areas of the man's life. Throughout, Donald is balanced in his treatment of a controversial man who was described, quite accurately by another reviewer, as the country's first "politically correct" politician. As a person I do not think I would have liked Charles Sumner nor agreed with his extremism in many of the positions he took (most other people in the government did not either), but his life is well worth reading about for a fuller understanding of the decades immedaitely prior to and immediately following the Civil War.
Donald goes into many speeches, newspaper reports, letters, personal opinions of others, and proposed legislation to give one a real feeling for the man. His controversial life and opinions give one much to think about regarding the complex issues of race, reconstruction, and society in mid-nineteenth century America. Although this is not the most lively written of biographies, it is judicious and scholarly. Well worth the time.
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Format: Paperback
Harvard historian David Donald applies his keen intellect to the life of Charles Sumner and writes a worthy biography of a man Americans should know more about. Sumner might be described as the first "PC" politician. If you're interested in the Civil War, race relations, or the perils (and triumphs) of a public life devoted to principle, you'll learn much from this book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Charles Sumner was one of the most distinguished, cantankerous, inflexible, honorable, righteous, and self-righteous politicians of the nineteenth century. This biography, by the late, great David Donald, is one of the all-time great political biographies. It originally appeared in two volumes, but this handsome omnibus volume conveniently brings them together between two covers. Highly recommended for anyone who wants to understand the Civil War, Reconstruction, American politics, or the conflicts over slavery and reconstructing the Union.
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