The Long Road To Antietam by Richard Slotkin
How the Civil War Became a Revolution

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A masterful account of the Civil War's turning point in the tradition of James McPherson's Crossroads of Freedom.

In the summer of 1862, after a year of protracted fighting, Abraham Lincoln decided on a radical change of strategy—one that abandoned hope for a compromise peace and committed the nation to all-out war. The centerpiece of that new strategy was the Emancipation Proclamation: an unprecedented use of federal power that would revolutionize Southern society. In The Long Road to Antietam, Richard Slotkin, a renowned cultural historian, reexamines the challenges that Lincoln encountered during that anguished summer 150 years ago. In an original and incisive study of character, Slotkin re-creates the showdown between Lincoln and General George McClellan, the “Young Napoleon” whose opposition to Lincoln included obsessive fantasies of dictatorship and a military coup. He brings to three-dimensional life their ruinous conflict, demonstrating how their political struggle provided Confederate General Robert E. Lee with his best opportunity to win the war, in the grand offensive that ended in September of 1862 at the bloody Battle of Antietam.

About Richard Slotkin

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Richard Slotkin is the Olin Professor and the former director of American Studies at Wesleyan University. His previous books include Abe: A Novel of the Young Lincoln, National Book Award Finalist Gunfighter Nation, and Regeneration Through Violence, also a National Book Award Finalist and winner of the Albert J. Beveridge Prize. He lives in Middletown, Connecticut.
Published July 16, 2012 by W. W. Norton & Company. 512 pages
Genres: History, War. Non-fiction

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Known as the “Virginia Creeper,” McClellan knew that an early victory would allow the “radicals” to take over the war and insist on subduing the South.

Apr 21 2012 | Read Full Review of The Long Road To Antietam: Ho...

Publishers Weekly

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The author pens a fine narrative of the Battle of Antietam, balancing a lucid overview of strategy and maneuver with subtle, novelistic evocations of the chaos of combat as men “edg[ed] forward step-by-step each time they loaded and aimed, trying to get out of the smoke so they could see better...

Apr 09 2012 | Read Full Review of The Long Road To Antietam: Ho...

Christian Science Monitor

Writer Winston Groom illuminates the personal side of a battle in 'Shiloh,' while Richard Slotkin's 'Antietam' is an eye-opening view of an engagement and a war.

Aug 07 2012 | Read Full Review of The Long Road To Antietam: Ho...

The Boston Globe

Perhaps as well, Slotkin suggests, “a decision so bold was simply beyond him.” On the day before he boarded the train to return to Washington, awaiting further orders that never came, however, a speaker at a rally in New York called for the nomination of McClellan as the Democratic candidate f...

Jul 27 2012 | Read Full Review of The Long Road To Antietam: Ho...


"Lincoln understood very clearly," Slotkin says, "that the war could not in future be prosecuted as anything but a war of subjugation and a 'remorseless revolutionary conflict.'"

Sep 06 2012 | Read Full Review of The Long Road To Antietam: Ho...

Emerging Civil War

Lincoln, at first of the same mind, changed as the war dragged and turned it into a revolution, according to Slotkin, and in the process “was both strengthened and schooled on how to deal with generals who thought control of war policy should be conceded to military professionals” (403).

Dec 16 2012 | Read Full Review of The Long Road To Antietam: Ho...

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