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Witness to the Young Republic: A Yankee's Journal, 1828-1870 Paperback – June 15, 1989

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Previously accessible only in the original 11-volume journal at the Library of Congress, French's diary is a splendid example of a 19th-century "insider's account." Witnessing events in the nation's capital from 1833 to 1870, French was acquainted personally with every president from John Quincy Adams to Ulysses Grant. As a diarist, French is superb; his writing style is not only clear and lucid but, with a flair for the dramatic and the gossipy, entertaining as well. Personal accounts abound of Jackson, Webster, and Douglas, and French, who observed Lincoln on a regular basis, was present at the Gettysburg Address and in the room as Lincoln lay dying; afterwards, he was in charge of the President's funeral arrangements. The editors have culled about a third of the original 4000 pages, selecting those passages that best depict the personalities, manners, and events of French's time. An interesting account of the great men and events of an important period, it is recommended for academic and large public libraries.
- Jason H. Silverman, Winthrop Coll . , Rock Hill, S.C.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Publisher

6 1/8 x 9 1/4 trim. 18 illus. 2 maps. End-paper illus. LC 88-39145
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE


Product Details

  • Paperback: 703 pages
  • Publisher: UPNE; 1st edition (June 15, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1584652659
  • ISBN-13: 978-1584652656
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.4 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,444,657 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you enjoy first hand impressions by historical figures, you will undoubtedly find French's journal worthwhile reading. I most enjoyed French's comments about the presidents he knew from J. Q. Adams to Grant, his partisan political commentary and the frequent descriptions of violence erupting in congress, including this, one of the more memorable scenes, which I've excerpted from his 9/13/1841 entry:

"... During Thursday another of those scenes, so disgraceful to the House of Representavies, occurred in that body. Mr. Wise had made some remarks to which Mr. Stanly alluded in a manner that W. thought malevolent & unkind. He went to Mr. Stanly's seat to remonstrate with him when angry words passed between them, and Wise, as he says in his statement to the Committee, since called Stanly "a mean, contemptible puppy and miserable wretch," to which Stanly replied[.] "You are a liar," when Wise struck him, and fight instantly ensued ...The Speaker crying at the entent of his voice[.] "Order - order - order," exclamations from the crowd of "Damn him[,] down with him" -"Where are your Bowie knives"--"Knock him down," etc. Mr. Clarke, the Clerk of the House, seized the mace & went into the midst of the melee & exclaimed[,] "Gentlemen, respect the symbol of authority, respect yourselves." Mr. Arnold & Mr. W. O. Butler of Ky. Were seen in violent personal contest, & Mr. Houston of Ala. Held an uplifted cane over Mr. Arnold's head, which some member arrested in its descent, & thus, probably saved Mr. A. a bloody coxcomb. In two or three minutes order was restored, mainly, I believe, by the exertions of Dixon H.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was led to this book when I read a book about President Lincoln and noticed this book was a frequently used source. It is not beach reading (unless you are quite the history buff!) but it is interesting. It is well annotated with notes telling who the lesser known people are who he refers to in his diary. It seemed to start out slow for me, but the entries get more intriguing and besides, the early entries build a picture of what he is like and sets up the rest of the diary. And the hardcover copy is quite affordable.
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