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Reveille in Washington: 1860-1865 Reissue Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0881847321
ISBN-10: 0881847321
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 483 pages
  • Publisher: Carroll & Graf Pub; Reissue edition (March 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0881847321
  • ISBN-13: 978-0881847321
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,761,614 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By W. R. Smith on January 26, 2004
Format: Paperback
FULL DISCLOSURE: I am a native Washingtonian and a Civil War enthusiast. (I would have said "buff," but like that sage, George Costanza, I'm not sure what a buff is.) So having said this, I love this book. Leech is a wonderful writer and this Pulitzer Prize winner is a discovered gem. (Original copyright 1941)
You're hooked from the start -
"That winter, the old General [Winfield Scott] moved from the rooms he had rented from the free mulatto, Wormley, in I Street to Cruchet's at Sixth and D Streets. His new quarters, situated on the ground floor - a spacious bed-room, with a private dining-room adjoining - were convenient for a man who walked slowly and with pain; and Cruchet, a French caterer, was one of the best cooks in Washington."
The "star" of the book is, indeed, the city of Washington, D.C. Many players walk across the D.C. stage and Leech's research paints vivid portraits not seen before about the Lincolns, Walt Whitman, Andrew Carnegie, Winfield Scott, John Wilkes Booth, and many, many others. It's a D.C. you have never really seen or heard that much about. It's a scrappy, dusty/muddy, unfinished city, begging for respect. A city that found itself a lynchpin between Union soldiers heading to battle and the many battlefields of Virginia. We see the soldiers come, go and return. Some are dead, many are wounded. But the focus is always on the District of Columbia.
Past and present D.C. residents will get a kick out of reading things like "Tennallytown" for today's Tenleytown; the importance then of today's Bladensburg; the importance then of what today are mere Metro stops - e.g., Fort Totten, the Navy Yard and Silver Spring. Even Rockville, Maryland, puts in a guest appearance.
Leech covers the key years - 1860 to 1865 - with painstaking research.
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Format: Paperback
Margaret Leech's "Reveille in Washington" is a fact filled book that betray's her origins as a novelist.
For the Civil War afficianodo, there are many tidbits that add to one's understanding of the Civil War as viewed from Washington, D.C. These involve fascinating interactions among the players (Lincoln, members of the Senate, Stanton, Seward and Chase), and also reminders that even in the midst of war, Washington still minded the habits and customs of society in our nation's capital. Lincoln still had (as the first host) parties, endured the countless details of administration and grinding demands of petitioners, and found time for levity and respit.
Like its counterpoint "Ashes of Glory," an excellent account of wartime Richmond, Reveille in Washington will broaden the understanding of those of us who have waded through countless military oriented books of the Civil War. Ms. Leech also includes a helpful timeline and an excellent appendix on scores of the characters in her book. For those who often wonder "what happened after..." to historical personages, the appendix will satisfy by tying up a lot of loose ends. More history books should follow this habit.
My only slight criticism is Ms. Leech's overuse of adjectives. She describes every person and proper noun, sometimes to the point of distraction like a florid romance novel. This both helps and hinders the tale. While it makes the events and persons more imaginable to the mind's eye, she undoubtedly takes some literary license in describing thoughts, feelings and descriptions that can only be surmised. All in all it is not a major distraction, but does sometimes become tiresome.
That having been said, this portrait of Washington fills the gaps to a great story.
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Format: Paperback
or one of those long running soap operas from the golden age of radio. Characters coming & going then reappearing later in the story. There are villians, heroes, heroines, conspiracy & even murder.
This excellent, informative work evokes two eras. First its subject matter giving us a history of Washington during the Civil War. This subject has not been covered as heavily as the various battles & endless biographies of the notable figures of that war. The book was written 76 years after the war. Here we are 62 years after that listening to Ms. Leech words, also of a different era than our own. The language in which it was written is quaint, colloquil & even offensive to some in our time. That is part of it significance as an important work. It is also an entertaining history book. Imagine that.
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Format: Paperback
This was the first book I ever read on the Civil War and it turned me on to a host of other CW books. This tells the story of Washington and Lincoln during the War Years and weaves a narration of the war itself. Explains the transition of DC from a sleepy capitol to a major city. Brings to life through wonderful writing the hustle and bustle of a great city. Loved it.
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By A Customer on August 12, 1998
Format: Paperback
This wonderful book brings to life the city of Washington during the Civil War. Mrs. Leech describes the daily life of a city swarming with soldiers, office seekers, politicians, and others with such intimacy that you feel you are there.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed this work and could easily have relished another 500 pages. It reads like an historical novel with vivid descriptions of the events, settings and not only the major players but also the prewar residents and the many new arrivals drawn by the promise of financial and political gain in a wartime economy, all of whose sentiments, politics, loyalties, security and livelihoods fluctuated with the successes and failures of the two armies in the close vicinity of the still uncompleted frontier capital on the Potomac. You get a insight into how poorly managed the military and the civilian war effort was during a crisis that went on far longer than was necessary at the expense of so many lives on both sides.
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