Allegiance by David Detzer
Fort Sumter, Charleston, and the Beginning of the Civil War

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Foreward by Gene Smith, author of Lee and Grant

An original and deeply human portrait of soldiers and civilians caught in the vortex of war.

So vividly does Allegiance re-create the events leading to the firing of the first shot of the Civil War on April 12, 1861, that we can feel the fabric of the Union tearing apart. It is a tense and surprising story, filled with indecisive bureaucrats, uninformed leaders, hotheaded politicians, and dedicated and honorable soldiers on both sides.

The six-month-long agony that began with Lincoln's election in November sputtered from one crisis to the next until Lincoln's inauguration, and finally exploded as the soldiers at Sumter neared starvation. At the center of this dramatic narrative is the heroic figure of Major Robert Anderson, a soldier whose experience had taught him above all that war is the poorest form of policy. With little help from Washington, D.C., Anderson almost single-handedly forestalled the beginning of the war until he finally had no choice but to fight.

David Detzer's decade-long research illuminates the passions that led to the fighting, the sober reflections of the man who restrained its outbreak, and individuals on both sides who changed American history. No other historian has given us a clearer or more intimate picture of the human drama of Fort Sumter.


About David Detzer

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David Detzer is Professor Emeritus of history with Connecticut State University. He is the author of several books, including The Brink: Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962 and Thunder of the Captains, about the Korean War. He lives in Connecticut with his wife and several dogs.
Published April 12, 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 384 pages
Genres: History, War. Non-fiction

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An unrevealing account of an already well-studied episode in American history: the siege of Fort Sumter and the formal opening of hostilities in the Civil War.

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Publishers Weekly

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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.

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