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A Wilderness So Immense: The Louisiana Purchase and the Destiny of America Paperback – August 10, 2004
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Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Jon Kukla did us all a service by sitting down and asking what the Louisiana Purchase actually meant to the North, the South, and the burgeoning Western Territories, both then, in the more distant future, and even now.
In 1803, New Orleans was a Caribbean port with a large population of free mulattoes, Creoles, French, and Spanish -- not to mention a sprinkling of American traders. It was like nothing that the original Thirteen Colonies ever saw, and it was but a foretaste of the rampant multiculturalism that has become a dominant feature of our lives.
Did you know that the first impulse to secession was not in the South, but in Massachusetts? The "Essex Junto," dating as far back as 1786, allowed itself to be influenced by Spain for purely regional benefits. As late as the Hartford Convention in 1815, the threat of secession was primarily a Yankee threat; only later did the South adopt it.
Jefferson, Livingston, and Monroe tread on new ground in cutting the deal: There was nothing in the new Constitution to allow them such powers, nor was there anything that expressly forbade it. And no sooner was the deal made than the United States began to face new problems, such as the expansion of slavery in the new territories. It was the Purchase that led in an almost direct line to the Missouri Compromise of 1820; and from there, to the Dred Scott Decision; and from there to the horrors of the War Between the States.
Kukla's book can be read on several levels.Read more ›
The story of this land acquisition is intricate, filled with intrigue. It spans the globe including such diverse locations as Haiti, Madrid, Virginia, New York, Paris, London and New Orleans. It involved scheming, daring and negotiation between traditional contenders France, Great Britain, Spain and the United States and involved a cast of characters Hollywood could only hope for: Napoleon, Jefferson, Monroe, Livingston, Talleyrand, Jay, Wilkerson, Burr, and many, many more.
Jon Kukla does a masterful job of spinning the tale of the world's largest real estate transaction. He makes it clear that as the French Revolution, and Napoleon's empire building, rocked the Atlantic community, Spain's new world empire became increasingly vulnerable to its American and European rivals. Jefferson hoped to take Spain's territories piece by piece, while Napoleon schemed to reestablish French colonial empire in the Caribbean and North America.
Interweaving the stories of ordinary settlers and kings maneuvering on the world stage, the author depicts a world of revolutionary intrigue that transformed a small, faltering experiment in self government into a world power. And all without blood shed and for about 4 cents per acre. Exceedingly well written and with significant attention paid to key transitions and detail this is a most excellent work.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is for anyone who wants an in-depth study of the area encompassing the Louisiana Purchase from United States independence in 1783 to the conclusion of the purchase in... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Gary92
This book was SO very boring. I love history but this book spits in the face of history. It's so long and drawn out. Read morePublished on March 7, 2014 by CabOOse
Much has been written about the Louisiana Purchase but this gives the story leading up to it details and style that makes the book hard to put down.Published on April 14, 2013 by Lynn
The man can write! I looked on the back cover to see the photo of a middle-aged man who's apparently been doing something other than writing books for most of his career - a... Read morePublished on March 23, 2012 by Cort R. Johnson
I read this book for my own personal research. If you want detail, this has it: Not only what people did, but what they ate and who they were sleeping with. Read morePublished on March 6, 2007 by Carolyn J.
I admit I decided to read this book because I thought it only fitting in this bicentennial year of the Louisiana Purchase to do so, and that I was struck by the felicitous title... Read morePublished on December 24, 2003 by Schmerguls