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1861: The Civil War Awakening Paperback – February 21, 2012
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From Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
A New York Times Notable Book
Praise for Adam Goodheart’s 1861
“Exhilarating. . . . Inspiring. . . . Irresistible. . . . 1861 creates the uncanny illusion that the reader has stepped into a time machine.”
—The New York Times Book Review
“A huge contribution. . . . Hardly a page of this book lacks an insight of importance or a fact that beguiles the reader.”
—The Boston Globe
“Adam Goodheart is a Monet with a pen instead of a paintbrush.”
—James M. McPherson, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Battle Cry of Freedom
“Goodheart writes with precision, beauty and understanding. The books will renew one’s excitement about reading history.”
—The Albuquerque Journal
“Rich, multitiered history.”
—The New York Review of Books
“Goodheart shows us that even at 150 years’ distance there are new voices, and new stories, to be heard about the Civil War, and that together they can have real meaning. . . . He takes what is known, breaks it down to its elemental parts and rearranges it, giving us a different view entirely of something we thought we understood entirely.”
—The Boston Globe
“1861 is the best book I have ever read on the start of the Civil War. . . . Penetrating, eloquent, and deeply moving, this is a classic introduction to the nation’s greatest conflict.”
—Tony Horwitz, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and author of Confederates in the Attic
“Eloquent. . . . Gripping. . . . Goodheart gives readers a sense of what it was like to have been there.”
—St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“Marvelous. . . . Goodheart brings us into the world of mid-nineteenth-century America, as ambiguous and ambitious and fractured as the times we live in now, and he brings to pulsing life the hearts and minds of its American citizens.”
—The Huffington Post
“Exceptional historical reporting. . . . Enlightening, insightful, and yes, entertaining.”
—The Tucson Citizen
“Doing what David McCullough’s 1776 did for the American Revolution, Goodheart’s book delivers a remarkably original and gripping account of the year the Civil War began.”
—History Book Club
“Goodheart is an elegant writer and this is a highly readable introduction to America’s great civil conflict.”
—The Seattle Times
“A compelling look at the country’s dawning realization that this would be much more than a quickly resolved conflict over slavery, through the experiences of a fascinating cast of characters given short shrift (if any shrift at all) in previous Civil War books.”
“Goodheart’s book stands out . . . for the author’s deft narrative style and vivid description. . . . [He] conjures a remarkable cast of individual Americans—from slaves and foot soldiers to the occupant of the Oval Office—using their stories to evoke a national watershed.”
“An impressive accomplishment, a delightful read, and a valuable contribution that will entertain and challenge popular and professional audiences alike.”
“With boundless verve, Adam Goodheart has sketched an uncommonly rich tableau of America on the cusp of the Civil War. The research is impeccable, the cast of little-known characters we are introduced to is thoroughly fascinating, the book is utterly thought-provoking, and the story is luminescent. What a triumph.”
—Jay Winik, author of April 1865 and The Great Upheaval
Top Customer Reviews
What drew me in was the prologue. How often had I read about Maj. Robert Anderson's brave defense of the fort from Confederate shelling, and how he gave in honorably. What I didn't know what that Anderson originally was chosen to defend in Fort Moultrie. When South Carolina voted to secede, his small but valiant group of men (including a brass band!) constantly pressured him to move to Sumter, which was more easily defended from attack than the "park-like" Moultrie. Anderson wanted to go, but felt compelled to follow his orders. It wasn't until a telegram arrived that asked him to defend the "forts" (note the plural S) that he felt finally like he had permission to move. So he did, sneaking over to Sumter, all because of the letter S. The rest is history.
In fact, that is what Adam Goodheart truly understands; that history is all about story; the story of a person or of people. Much gets lost in the endless recitation of battle facts and ennui, which is important to remember, but there is so much more. It's the stories that drive the war.Read more ›
Bottom line: this book offered me a take on the Civil War that was entirely new and interesting to me. Goodheart started with a research question: How does a nation of real people go from a relatively peaceful state to a willingness to engage in bloody civil war in just a short matter of time? What changed within the minds of individuals, never mind the political and military figures, that allowed for this to happen? It is a question worth asking when you consider the price that was paid and the sacrifice required to bring the war to an end over the course of four years. The answer to this question offers guidance for us to this day.
To answer the research question, Goodheart chose to look at the lives of several individuals, who, at least in my case, were relatively new case studies to the American Civil War. The timeframe essentially takes place from the Presidential election of 1860 through First Manassas.Read more ›
150 years later and the Civil War is as relevant and interesting as ever, and Goodheart focuses this book around that first year, 1861, and how the Civil War REALLY came about.
In this beautifully packaged (deckled/uneven pages!) book, Goodheart spins a well crafted and accurate non-fiction narrative of the story of the start of our country's divide and brings our troubled political past alive in a story that reads unlike any other history book I've read.
It's the rare entry point to the Civil War that can delight any Civil War buff who thinks he knows everything already as well as captivate and interest the vaguely curious and cautious non-historian.
I grew up in the 1960s in what had been a border state, and 1861 sheds plenty of light beyond its one year to illuminate my own experience -- explaining, for instance, why my nonagenarian friend across the street still cherished a daguerreotype of Elmer Ellsworth and how that same Ellsworth was connected to Mose, the mythic fireman on my grandfather's slightly racy theater poster. It also casts a contemporary light on attitudes toward the Civil War that were still, in my childhood, remarkably entrenched.
Goodheart propels his narrative with speed and wit. This is a lively and enlightening read.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The writer outlines the emerging conflict that became war in a clear and concise manner. Sometimes there is too much detail but it does paint a picture, especially on the issue of... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Rich Long
This was an interesting book considering I am not a history buff. I do wish there was a brief mention of the chronological battles in the war. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Kindle Customer
What a marvelous book. To label it a “history book” does it more than a little disservice. Goodheart is an eloquent writer of the first order. Read morePublished 5 months ago by David Eide
A fresh and telling examination of one American history's most seminal years as the nation plunges into civil war. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Travelhound
A masterpiece - a smart, fascinating account of the war and it's effect, and basically a tale of the folly of man kind.Published 9 months ago by Noam Reshef
Gave me a much better understanding of the origins of the war, and a better appreciation for the dynamics of tension that still exist. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Amazon Customer
The author weaves together the results of impeccable research
Into a coherent revaluation of the origins of the Civil War and the forces that influenced and shaped our... Read more