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Border War: Fighting over Slavery before the Civil War (Civil War America) Hardcover – November 8, 2010
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Harrold's book is not only informative but provocative.--Indiana Magazine of History
[This book] should immediately be standard reading for all historians of antebellum America.--Journal of Southern History
Harrold is at his best when he discusses how, when, and why the violence occurred, and its impact on the ongoing struggle." --The North Carolina Historical Review
Scholars of nineteenth-century America generally, and the Civil War era specifically, would benefit greatly from adding Border War to their collections.--Arkansas Historical Quarterly
Offers a refreshing perspective on disunion by examining the tensions in the North-South borderland. . . [and] sheds new light on how the slave states sought to protect their peculiar institution.--West Virginia History
A sobering, meticulously researched and astutely presented historical analysis, highly recommended especially for college library collections.--Midwest Book Review
Fast-paced, lucid, and well-researched.--American Historical Review
This work forces historians to reconsider the fault lines of the origins of the Civil War and promises new directions for research. Highly recommended.--Choice
This book is important in understanding the intense feelings on both sides of the conflict that help lead to the start of our American Civil War. . . . Excellent.--Lone Star Book Review
[Border War] is a solid, detailed narrative of the violent conflict that developed along the border between the North and South in the decades before the Civil War.--The Annals of Iowa
An excellent addition to the literature on causes of the Civil War.--Journal of NC Association of Historians
Harrold makes impressive use of newspapers and manuscript sources. His engaging study should appeal to students of many historical subjects." --Journal of American History
This is a unique book and one that is necessary to read if you want to understand politics prior to the war.--TOCWOC: A Civil War Blog
[This book] can help those trying to develop a better understanding of the issues that led to secession. . . . Highly recommended.--Blue & Gray Magazine
In Border War, Stanley Harrold cements his reputation as one of the leading scholars of sectional tensions in the antebellum and Civil War eras. . . . A must read for historians of the middle nineteenth century.--Tennessee Historical Quarterly
A welcome exploration of the volatile decades of sectional strife that preceded the Civil War.--Canadian Journal of History
Stanley Harrold has written an excellent book that is sure to prompt debate and additional research. It will be required reading for historians of the slavery controversy in the United States.--Civil War Book Review
A good addition to all Civil War collections.--Library Journal
The impressive research in Border War raises a theme that historians must confront.--Journal of Illinois History
This provocative book . . . will receive its share of attention.--Register of the Kentucky Historical Society
Border War is a must-have for anyone seeking to understand the small-scale underlying fights that snowballed the Civil War. . . . Textbooks and many leading historical works leave gaps by portraying the sweeping movements, but Harrold fills in the details without which a true and thorough understanding of the slavery issue and the Civil War is impossible.--Virginia Libraries
Relying on an impressive array of archival and secondary sources, Harrold reconfigures the Underground Railroad into a complex series of events.--Kansas History
Writing with admirable clarity and passion, Harrold vividly re-creates the violent and chaotic decade of the 1850s. Harrold's devastating portrait of a nation already at war along the contested border should appeal to all readers of history. His research, both archival and secondary, is exceptional.--Douglas R. Egerton, Le Moyne College
Arguing for a broader definition of politics, Stanley Harrold successfully takes us into relatively uncharted waters, insisting that, by running away, slaves had a profound effect on the politics of slavery both on the border between slavery and freedom where it was most vulnerable and on the national level.--Richard J. M. Blackett, Vanderbilt University
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Top Customer Reviews
An escaped slave is a loss from $50,000 to $80,000, in today's dollars. Any debit contracted to buy a slave is not forgiven if the slave escapes. From Slave States comes a constant stream of runaway slaves and those trying to capture them. These results in confrontations that are often violent. Northern Whites and Free Blacks join escaped slaves fighting those trying to recapture them. Often, the court became involved and usually protected the escaped slave. Southern states tried diplomacy to establish their rights under the law to their property. As the Northern courts become less sympathetic and refuse to return escaped slaves, the South turns to the Federal Government.
A major problem in Northern states is attempts to enslave black residents. In some cases, the claim is the person ran away years ago and is legal property. These cases often went to court with varied results. In other cases, gangs simply kidnapped people to take south and sell into slavery. Philadelphia has a real problem with kidnappers for years, young men and children being prime targets of the gangs.
Going south are kidnappers that have jumped bail or escaped arrest. Another and possibly larger group are men jailed while trying to capture an escaped slave. Southern states are loath to surrender these people; just as Northern states are loath to surrender Blacks. The result is a continued series of hearings and court filings that increase the anger and frustration level on both sides.
A second group going south is men looking to encourage and guide escaped slaves to freedom. This very dangerous activity results in many mass escapes, some well armed, pitched battles and court cases. This is an amazing look at personal bravery and great risk to fight a moral wrong.
This is a history of legal actions, raids, hearings, riots and small desperate battles. It is a very personal series of events that together built the political battles of the times. The author is an excellent writer. This large canvass is put into an understandable logical story where each series of incidents leads to the next. We come to understand why the South fought for the Fugitive Slave Law and why John Brown could think, his raid just might work. The author is very fair to both sides, presenting the facts and their positions without moralizing or injecting modern ideas. This is a unique book and one that is necessary read if you want to understand politics prior to the war.
It is an overview of resistance and fighting, sometimes deadly. It covers not just the guerilla skirmishes in 1850s Kansas, but also slaves defending themselves as they tried to escape, were defended by abolitionists and much more. One item will make fans of General Lee squirm--during the course of Lee's invasion of Pennsylvania that resulted in Gettysburg, hundreds of black people were rounded up to take back to the Confederacy to be re-enslaved; these included fugitive slaves but also kidnapped free people. That is a stain on Lee's army. The practice seems to have been common--anyone looking for a book topic?
The book concentrates on Ohio, Kentucky, Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania. The content is worth knowing about. Four stars for writing but overall five for content and a good narrative flow.