1858 by Bruce Chadwick
Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant and the War They Failed to See

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"Highly recommended-a gripping narrative of the critical year of 1858 and the nation's slide toward disunion and war...Readers seeking to understand how individuals are agents of historical change will find Chadwick's account of the failed leadership of President James Buchanan especially compelling."
-G. Kurt Piehler, author of Remembering War the American Way

"Chadwick's excellent history shows how the issue of slavery came crashing into the professional, public, and private lives of many Americans...Chadwick offers a fascinating premise: that James Buchanan, far from being a passive spectator, played a major role in the drama of his time. 1858 is a welcome addition to scholarship of the most volatile period of American history."
-Frank Cucurullo, Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial

As 1858 dawned, the men who would become the iconic figures of the Civil War had no idea it was about to occur: Jefferson Davis was dying, Robert E. Lee was on the verge of resigning from the military, and William Tecumseh Sherman had been reduced to running a roadside food stand. By the end of 1858, the lives of these men would be forever changed, and the North and South were set on a collision course that would end with the deaths of 630,000 young men.

This is the story of seven men on the brink of a war that would transform them into American legends, and the events of the year that set our union on fire.

 

About Bruce Chadwick

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As 1858 dawned, the men who would become the iconic figures of the Civil War had no idea it was about to occur: Jefferson Davis was ill from an attack of herpes; Robert E. Lee was on the verge of resigning from the military; and William Tecumseh Sherman had been reduced to running a roadside food stand. Meanwhile, the maniacal President James Buchanan was raving over perceived threats to his power. He did nothing as debates erupted around the country following two violent attempts by white Northerners to free Southern slaves.By the end of 1858, Jefferson Davis had become the South's spokesman for the secessionist cause, New York Senator William Seward attested the Union was in “irresistible conflict” over slavery that might end in war, the anti-slavery advocate Abraham Lincoln had lost a Senate seat but had won the respect of millions, and the North and South were set on a collision course that would end with the deaths of 630,000 young men.This is the story of seven men on the brink of a war that would transform them into American legends, and the events of the year that set our union on fire.Bruce Chadwick is a former journalist and author of eight works of history, including The First American Army, George Washington's War, The General and Mrs. Washington, Brother Against Brother, Two American Presidents, Traveling the Underground Railroad and The Reel Civil War. He lectures in American history at Rutgers University and also teaches writing at New Jersey City University.
 
Published September 1, 2011 by Sourcebooks. 384 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences, War. Non-fiction

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In a series of debates during the Illinois senate race—memorably detailed in Allen Guelzo’s Lincoln and Douglas: The Debates that Defined America, 2007—Abraham Lincoln made a national reputation for himself and destroyed the hope of the formidable and fence-straddling Stephen A.

Jan 01 2008 | Read Full Review of 1858: Abraham Lincoln, Jeffer...

Publishers Weekly

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By focusing on the men who drove crucial historical events, Chadwick provides plenty of pre-1858 background to make his case that the events of that year “changed the lives of dozens of important people” and “within a few short years, the history of the nation.” Chadwick examines the lives of six...

Jan 28 2008 | Read Full Review of 1858: Abraham Lincoln, Jeffer...

BC Books

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An ambitious look at how the events of one year impacted the future of a nation.

Jan 18 2009 | Read Full Review of 1858: Abraham Lincoln, Jeffer...

BC Books

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The idea of tracing the events of one year, and showing how they led to a much larger event several years later, is commendable.

Jan 18 2009 | Read Full Review of 1858: Abraham Lincoln, Jeffer...

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