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Quantrill at Lawrence: The Untold Story Hardcover – April 26, 2011


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Quantrill at Lawrence: The Untold Story + The Devil Knows How To Ride: The True Story Of William Clarke Quantril And His Confederate Raiders + Bloody Bill Anderson: The Short, Savage Life of a Civil War Guerrilla
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Pelican Publishing; First Edition edition (April 26, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1589809092
  • ISBN-13: 978-1589809093
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.3 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,033,034 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

The Lawrence raid is one of the bloodiest-and more misunderstood-campaigns of the Civil War. Catalyzed by the murder of five young women who were related to members of his ranger company, Col. William Clarke Quantrill attacked Lawrence, Kansas, on August 21, 1863. Though the full truth behind the raid has frequently been omitted from history, Quantrill at Lawrence: The Untold Story dissolves the legacy of lies.

Including testimony from the victims and the raiders, this comprehensive volume provides a firsthand account of what happened during the clash on the Missouri-Kansas border. Chapters scrutinize the causes behind the raid-explaining the reasons why Quantrill felt justified in attacking Lawrence-and pinpoint the men who were responsible for the bloodshed. In addition to describing the precautions taken before the skirmish, sections detail the hours during the attack and consequences that followed.

Paul R. Petersen also introduces such historical figures as Capt. George Todd, Col. John D. Holt, and Lt. James L. Bledsoe and defines their roles in the raid. In addition to maps, photographs provide a visual reference for the reader. Quantrill at Lawrence describes the temper of the time and the hatred brewing between Kansas and Missouri, bringing a culmination of events into clear focus.

From the Back Cover

"This very well documented narrative by Mr. Petersen is the best account of what led up to and what occurred at the Lawrence, Kansas, raid that I've ever encountered."
-Duncan Hansen, author, A Reunion in Death

"Petersen's well documented accounting of the times . . . sheds an enlightened view of what happened and why for the first time."
-James C. Sterling, professor and Missouri Community Newspaper Management chair, Missouri School of Journalism, University of Missouri

"Paul Petersen in Quantrill at Lawrence orchestrates a mountain of data concerning the assaults committed by Kansans into Missouri from 1858 to 1861 during which farms and plantations in western Missouri were looted and burned to the ground; many of the people raped, tortured, and killed; and finally nearly all banished from three Missouri border counties. Petersen methodically explains the sacking of Lawrence, and his book will remain long a largely incontrovertible indictment of the Jayhawkers."
-Donald L. Gilmore, author, Riding Vengeance with the James Gang

Customer Reviews

It's not an "untold story" in any sense.
Steve Hicks
It is useful to read any book on a controversial subject with a critical mind, trying to read through the author’s statements to the underlying facts.
Richard Derham
Mr. Paul Peterson's book on "Quantrill at Lawrence" happens to be the very best book written on the the daylight raid in Lawrence, Kansas.
Major Rick Lee Mack

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By C. Rood on January 15, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Quantrill at Lawrence is a well-documented, well-written, highly informative and fresh look at an event that has long been misreported and misrepresented - often intentionally. Mr. Petersen, in his book, has exposed and refuted a number of widespread lies and falsehoods, and as such, he has predictably drawn the ire of those who would prefer to see the myths and disinformation continue unchallenged. I've noticed that very few of those who review the book negatively actually refute, or even attempt to refute, the material in the book itself. Rather, they simply go after the author (along with any who agree with him) with all of the usual epithets (including that old stand-by, "racist").

Some are dismissing the book as "revisionist." I would concede that the term revisionist is accurate, to the extent that the author is setting the record straight on some long-misrepresented persons and events. As the author himself stated in the introduction, with the North effectively controlling the propaganda war, they were able to control the history. It's high time that some so-called "revisionist" authors are taking the time to look beyond the cloud of disinformation that has hung over this conflict for 150 years, and are uncovering factual information about what actually occurred, and why.

American society today is filled with hypersensitive individuals on the Left, who shout "racist!" so much, the term has lost all meaning. Thanks to such people, race relations in America are under more strain than ever, and in this politically-correct society, there are those who are desparately determined to cling to historical falsehoods, simply to placate their own sensibilities.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Texas Bob on August 6, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Hands down; This is most likely the most detailed, accurate account on Quantrill's raid on Lawrence, KS. Kansas has villianized him as a terrorist, Missouri looks at him as a hero. Mr. Peterson has taken the time and effort to collect accurate information on Quantrill to provide the truth about him and his revenge on Union forces for what they did to his family and the family of his men. This book should quiet the all the people that believe the lies and embellishments that has formed an entirely different and inaccurate protrayal of an American Hero. Good Work. I'm from Kansas and will not go into our State Capital as Kansas, with all it's good people and history, has a mural of John Brown in the Rotunda of the Capital, portrayed as a hero. Get the facts correct as Mr. Peterson has done with his book. Anyone interested in Civil War History, this book is a 'must read'.
Should be required reading in high school.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Richard Derham on December 15, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If history is about “what was it like to the people living through it,” Petersen takes us into the world of those who lived in western Missouri, those who raided Lawrence, and helps us feel the world as they saw it, and to understand why they acted as they did..

I rate this book five stars if it is part of a balanced reading program. If it is the only one, I rate it as two stars. Explanation to follow.

In the past three months I have read several books about Quantrill, Lawrence and the border war. It is useful to read any book on a controversial subject with a critical mind, trying to read through the author’s statements to the underlying facts. I had already reached some conclusions that Peterson reaches, but in other areas he is too one-sided, not to say p0olemic.

As a combat Marine, Peterson brings a personal perspective not obvious in any of the more academic histories. He is conscious of the difficulties of good intelligence and good execution in any combat operation. His conclusion :

“In simple audacity, planning and performance the raid was considered one of the most daring light cavalry raids of the war. No other leader but Quantrill could have possibly carried off the raid successfully.”

Coming from a combat veteran, these conclusions cannot be cavalierly dismissed.

Petersen gives valuable insight into the tactical situation and planning of the approach route and the withdrawal route. His extensive chapter on the planning supports his assertion that this was not a mere “raid” but was a carefully planned military operation.

Where sources differ, Petersen accept the version of interpretation favorable to Quantrill. Fair enough; the hostile version is readily accessible to us all.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By N. J. Brooks Jr. on December 31, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This review was written by a former college instructor in U.S. History.This is a fascinating book! I was surprised at some of the things I learned by reading this book. One thing is for certain, most of what we are taught today about Quantrill is wrong!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Socrates on September 12, 2014
Format: Hardcover
This is the best and most detailed book that we have today about the raid on Lawrence. The author, an American hero from western Missouri, has provided a gold mine of great information, especially from his extensive use of period newspapers. And the author's use of many rare and previously-unpublished photos, including of little-known Missouri guerrillas, also makes this an outstanding book. Because of his military background, Petersen also understands and appreciates the often-overlooked factors that made Lawrence a legitimate military target. Most importantly, Petersen goes deeply into the personal backgrounds of the Missouri guerrillas, revealing their experiences and motivations to explain exactly why they embarked upon Lawrence's destruction.
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Quantrill at Lawrence: The Untold Story
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