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September Suspense: Lincoln's Union in Peril Hardcover – June 1, 2012


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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Dennis E. Frye is the Chief Historian at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. In demand as a writer, lecturer, guide, and preservationist, he has appeared numerous times on PBS, The History Channel, The Discovery Channel, and A&E as a guest historian. He has helped produce award-winning television features on the Battle of Antietam and abolitionist John Brown. A prolific author with over 77 articles and seven books to his credit, his most recent book prior to September Suspense is Harpers Ferry Under Fire: A Border Town in the America Civil War. Dennis resides near the Antietam Battlefield in Maryland, where he and his wife Sylvia have restored the home that was used by General Ambrose Burnside as his post-Antietam headquarters.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Antietam Rest Publishing; 1st edition (June 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0985411902
  • ISBN-13: 978-0985411909
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.2 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,803,973 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By Thoreau on July 3, 2013
Format: Hardcover
As one reviewer opined,the author is an amazing public speaker when discussing his book.However, the written word fails to match his articulated level and cries out for personality.The facts are welcome but eventually become tedious. Only near its conclusion when the battle between the forces of Generals Lee and McClellan engage does this book come to life with a modicum of personality. I graded the book a "3" on the basis of its historical information.September Suspense: Lincoln's Union in Peril
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Format: Kindle Edition
As Frye writes, when the war began, the Lincoln government looked for a quick and conclusive win. Even today, it is often assumed that the North was too powerful to ever be seriously threatened. In his latest book, Frye persuasively shows just how wrong conventional wisdom can be.

He demonstrates how people of that time did not think a Union victory was a foregone conclusion. He does this by drawing from contemporary newspapers, which he terms the "last frontier of Civil War research." While thousands of books have been written about the American Civil War, newspapers are not widely used as sources. This was due to inaccessibility: contemporary newspapers hidden in curators' collections and stored on antique microfilm or microfiche media. Then came digitization and the worldwide web. As Frye says, "A research revolution was born." Also, as Frye points out, you "feel" history when you read a contemporary newspaper. With daily diaries and daily correspondence, newspapers show what is happening and what is being experienced by the people of the time. That, asserts Frye, is what history is all about: people, not just dates, facts, or memorized texts. In September Suspense, Dennis lets the people of the time speak for themselves, because, "They are marvelous story-tellers."

He does, however, take issue with some uses of "primary sources." A person who experienced an historic event is an invaluable source of information for historians, but Dennis takes exception with those who chronicle their participation long after the event had occurred. To illustrate, Frye cites Ed Bearss, who says he has stopped going to his Marine Corps reunions of World War II veterans, "Because every year more and more became a bunch of damn liars!
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Format: Hardcover
September Suspense: Lincoln's Union in Peril, Dennis E. Frye, Antietam Rest Publishing, 292 pages, notes, bibliography, appendices, 19 illustrations, index, 2012, $27.95.

Newspapers of the Civil War era are a fountain of information on the material aspects of life and political disputes. During the era there was no unbiased reporting of political news; there was lots of speculation. "Newspapers bring us closer to people and allow us to be there when they make their history" remarks Dennis Frye in his introduction to September Suspense: Lincoln's Union in Peril. During the first week of September of 1862 no one knew the outcome of the Confederate invasion of Maryland and Pennsylvania, the fall elections, and the revelation of an emancipation proclamation.

Frye relies heavily on southern and northern newspapers and diaries but not those written after the autumn of 1862. Such reliance provides an immediacy which is usually not offered in most Civil War books. Over 35 newspapers were consulted. Frye's narrative is sharp and concise. His pacing of the chapters creates an undercurrent of a 'you are there' suspense. This is reminiscent of of John Michael Priest's use of only diaries and letters of privates, corporals, sergeants, captains and lieutenants in Antietam: A Soldier's Battle and Before Antietam: The Battle of South Mountain.

In September Suspense: Lincoln's Union in Peril readers wrestle with American abolitionists and slaveholders, British politicians and American bankers, retail merchants and marauding soldiers, presidents and their cabinets, war governors and army generals, men and women on the street and soldiers in the ranks. There is a suspense in Frye's work that moves readers forward through these American lives.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By brooklynbetsy on October 11, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book goes to source materials that put you in the timeframe the battle takes place. It gives you a very different feeling from the routine civil war history books. I can recommend this as a very good read!
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By scott s. on December 27, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
An very good overview of a pivotal time in our history. He paints a coherent picture of Sept 1962 weaving together the Harper's Ferry, South Mountain, and Antietam,
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By John clark on January 16, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I can't read or write so i gave to brother/dad/cousin/cousin/son they said it rocks good book for anyone interested in the great war
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