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Freedom Rising: Washington in the Civil War Paperback – November 8, 2005
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Top Customer Reviews
I found the mix of local and national issues and events not at all confusing and in fact, quite palatable. Furgurson seamlessly weaves in events such as John Fremont's action in Missouri and Ben Butler's actions on the Virginia Peninsula, for example, with local events in Washington. The importance of the interaction between these events is self-evident. Indeed, such masterful weaving is half the book's charm.
_Freedom Rising_ is not meant to be a source for report writing (although it works as background reading); it's meant to be an enjoyable read, and at this task Furgurson succeeds masterfully. I would recommend this book, and I will be more likely to read Furgurson's other books in the future.
Riddled with southern sympathizers and spies, the capital nevertheless became a truly federal city. Slave markets stood on the south side of Independence Ave, now a two-mile-long chain of government departments, and even on Lafayette Square. D St. and 21st, the present location of the State Department, was a huge stables; on Boxing Day, 1861, a fire broke out that killed thousands of horses and sent thousands more running through the city. For days afterwards, the city stank of burned horse meat. Present day conservatives would say that they still haven't cleaned out all the horse---- from the area. Federal Triangle was the red light district, catering to all tastes; digs have found piles of bottles of expensive French champagne where the bawdy houses one stood. Constitution Avenue was a canal -- Tiber Creek -- and all of the mall west from the Washington monument was the Potomac. Within months of the outbreak of war, Washington saw a string of firsts -- the first use of trains for strategic mobility, the first use of aerial reconnaissance, the first machine gun, the first suspension of habeas corpus, the first nursing corps, the first aircraft carrier (a balloon moored to a boat in the Potomoc that allowed the feds to observe the Confederate withdrawal from Occoquan and the Pohick Creek area where I now live).Read more ›
Furgurson writes this book like a forensic detective with the flair of a novelist. Here is a sample:
"On a given evening in the early summer of 1861, toward midnight, no one stirred at William Seward's house on the east side of the square, where Lincoln often came to talk strategy and swap stories....The windows were dark at Gideon Welles's home, looking south from H Street toward the White House. The entrance to St. John's Church, Benjamin Latrobe's little 1816 gem, where every President since Madison had worshiped, was shut against the night. But across Sixteenth Street, so close to all this quiescent power and anxiety, a portly senator range the bell of a brick townhouse, and a hall lamp briefly lit his eager face as he was admitted to the presence of Rose O'Neal Greenow."
That paragraph could have been a dry recitation of events. But in Furgurson's hands, the tale is a 'little gem,' like St. John's Church, of a Senator unknowingly sleeping with, and spilling secrets to, a Southern spy. This is "you are there" journalism at its best.
If you live or work or visit Washington DC in search of the Civil War's legacies, you will take Furgurson's visions with you when you walk its streets. All the people and many of the buildings are long gone, but Furgurson's book has stemmed history's tide for a long time to come.
Overall, I enjoyed Ernest B. Furgurson's 'Freedom Rising: Washington in the Civil War', as I found many interesting and well researched subject matter easily presented and carefully constructed in the narrative. Through an incredible amount of research that is well placed, Furgurson managed to keep my interest from the beginning of the book, which starts out with the creation of Lady Liberty's bronze statue, all the way through the inevitable. In between, the reader learns of the many scandels, the outlandish behavior of all the players, the suggested but failed compromises, and the evolution of the slavery issue from not as significant with respect to Lincoln's desire to keep the Union as one, to the importance of the matter in keeping the country one nation. In contrast to the detail, I felt some of the more important players were minamized, particularly of U.S. Grant. There were times that I felt there was a lack of consistancy on the author's direction, but was more than willing to take the journey, and understand the issues presented in the country's capitol.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Freedom Rising is a good historical telling of what our nation capital was like going through the nations trial by fire, the Civil War.Published 17 months ago by Larry L, Rubendall
I found more civil war history and less Washington detail. I was hoping to find a lot more detail about Washington and its times, with all its grimy geography and scummy... Read morePublished 22 months ago by Bernard Lavallee
I love visiting Washington DC and enjoy studying the Civil War period so this book brings the history of the city alive.Published 24 months ago by Amazon Customer
War time Washington: Sharpsters, con men, spies, heroes, winners, losers. Some in uniform, some not. Read morePublished on April 26, 2008 by Michael E. Fitzgerald
This is a well written book. It is comprehensive yet not overwelming with detail. I am confused though how a journalist with Mr. Read morePublished on July 25, 2007 by David W. Urban
I work in Washington, D.C, specifically in the US Capitol, and I felt that while this work lacks significant historical interpretation (as some reviewers point out) we should... Read morePublished on December 11, 2006 by MGMcd
This book is not what I thought it would be (or possibly wanted it to be). To be certain, it is a fine story of the Civil War written from the perspective of Washington. Read morePublished on July 27, 2006 by The Dougster
After reading Furgurson's book about Washington in the Civil War I can't help but think that this book wasn't properly titled. Read morePublished on February 17, 2006 by Todd E. Newman
Freedom Rising: Washington in the Civil War is an excellent book which recounts the events of the Civil War as they revolve around Washington, D.C. Read morePublished on December 23, 2005 by Crack Reviewer