- Hardcover: 384 pages
- Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 1 edition (April 12, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0151006415
- ISBN-13: 978-0151006410
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 22 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,420,549 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Allegiance: Fort Sumter, Charleston, and the Beginning of the Civil War 1st Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
This oft-told war story has all the elements of a military epic: a divided nation, trigger-happy politicians, unruly crowds, dedicated soldiers, a change in presidential administrations. Detzer (Thunder of the Captain), Connecticut State University professor emeritus of history, spent a decade researching primary and secondary sources for this decisive moment in American history. A superb popular history is the result, bringing to life the men (on both sides) who were responsible for the first shots of the Civil War. The central figure in this drama is Maj. Robert Anderson, commander of the Union garrison in Charleston Harbor. With little guidance from his superiors in Washington, Anderson occupied the unfinished Fort Sumter in December 1860. He and his tiny command were pawns in the political game between the newly formed Confederacy and the new Lincoln administration. Detzer's writing style brings the reader into close contact with soldiers, civilians and politicians as they struggle to solve the fate of Anderson and his men. Their tense story culminates on April 12, 1861, when a South Carolina cannon opened fire on the fort, and Detzer weighs the evidence that Lincoln goaded the South into doing it. Detzer's style "As Anderson and the rest waited, alone and isolated, rasped by tension, an incident occurred that nearly crushed Robert's will" won't be for everyone, but its immediacy, engagement and basis in fact are unquestionable. 8 pages of photos not seen by PW. (Apr.) Forecast: It would take a dramatization on the big or small screen for which its characterizations make this book ripe to drum up interest in this book's narrow-focus subject. But this carefully researched book could pop up on Intro to American History syllabi, as it will prove tempting bait for ambivalent students.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Detzer (The Brink: Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962) limns the daily lives of the men and women caught in the 1861 secession crisis in Charleston, SC, to show how personalities and circumstances determined the advent of the Civil War. With a novelist's gift for storytelling and an artist's eye for detail, the author brings new drama and insight to the well-worn narrative of the "firing of the first shot" of the war. He casts as his "hero" Maj. Robert Anderson, whose military experience, intelligence, and clear sense of duty held Fort Sumter for the Union for crucial days while politicians and generals dithered. Detzer's understanding of the culture of garrison life and the limited resources and character of the regular U.S. Army, then hardly the citizen-soldiers celebrated in popular literature and song, deepens the drama and makes the defense of the Union forts all the more remarkable. Though the author sometimes overplays the significance of Anderson's maneuvers, he gives a gripping account of how many earnest men lost control of events. For public and academic libraries. Randall M. Miller, Saint Joseph's Univ., Philadelphia
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
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To echo the other reviewers I have to point out that this is one of the better written history books out there. It flows quickly and with an interesting story that is characteristic of Detzer's books and brings the reader in quickly wanting to know what happens next. It is a fascinating way to read history and it gives not only a military and political perspective but takes you into the personal lives of the people who defended and attacked Fort Sumter. For those who want to see what was occurring in the days before the civil war this is the best book to do it.