A New York Times Notable Book of 2013
A Kirkus Best Book of 2013
A Bookpage Best Book of 2013
Dazzling in scope, Ecstatic Nation illuminates one of the most dramatic and momentous chapters in America's past, when the country dreamed big, craved new lands and new freedom, and was bitterly divided over its great moral wrong: slavery. With a canvas of extraordinary characters, such as P. T. Barnum, Walt Whitman, Frederick Douglass, and L. C. Q. Lamar, Ecstatic Nation brilliantly balances cultural and political history: It's a riveting account of the sectional conflict that preceded the Civil War, and it astutely chronicles the complex aftermath of that war and Reconstruction, including the promise that women would share in a new definition of American citizenship. It takes us from photographic surveys of the Sierra Nevadas to the discovery of gold in the South Dakota hills, and it signals the painful, thrilling birth of modern America.
An epic tale by award-winning author Brenda Wineapple, Ecstatic Nation lyrically and with true originality captures the optimism, the failures, and the tragic exuberance of a renewed Republic.
About Brenda WineappleSee more books from this Author
In other words, Wineapple gives us history as it feels in real time: full of plans that backfire, schemes foiled by chance, outliers who suddenly change everything...Its message is delivered through its vivid portrayal of the human side of an era, following the roiling tides of emotions — erratic, shifting and ultimately overpowering.Read Full Review of Ecstatic Nation: Confidence, ... | See more reviews from NY Times
"Confidence, Crisis, and Compromise"—themes enumerated in Ms. Wineapple's subtitle—are all addressed with subtlety. Most relevant to our own historical moment is her theme of compromise..."Ecstatic Nation" is varied, original and engaging from cover to cover. All in all, this is a magnificent read for history lovers.Read Full Review of Ecstatic Nation: Confidence, ... | See more reviews from WSJ online
Most odd in a book that so clearly recognizes the importance of photographic technology in shaping the period is that it lacks a single image. These are minor failings in what is a vastly successful enterprise, however...Read Full Review of Ecstatic Nation: Confidence, ... | See more reviews from Washington Times
Wide in scope and deep in detail, Wineapple's book moves with great control from abolitionist Boston to the Lincoln White House to crucial battle sites and then on to the unsettled West. The writing drags a bit here and there...The result can be a confusing mish-mash of characters and opinions that can take a couple of passes to digest.Read Full Review of Ecstatic Nation: Confidence, ... | See more reviews from LA Times
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