Year of Meteors by Douglas R. Egerton
Stephen Douglas, Abraham Lincoln, and the Election that Brought on the Civil War

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“Egerton tells the story of the dissolution of the Union as it should be told, not from the perspective of those looking back on the crisis, but from the clouded vision of those who lived through it.” —Carol Berkin, author of A Brilliant Solution: Inventing the American Constitution and Civil War Wives
In early 1860, pundits across America confidently predicted the election of Illinois senator Stephen A. Douglas in the coming presidential race. Douglas, after all, was a national figure, a renowned orator, and led the only party that bridged North and South. But his Democrats fractured over the issue of slavery, creating a splintered four-way race that opened the door for the upstart Republicans, exclusively Northern, to steal the Oval Office. Dark horse Abraham Lincoln—not the first choice even of his own party—won the presidency with a record-low share of the popular vote. His victory instantly triggered the secession crisis.

With a historian’s keen insight and a veteran political reporter’s eye for detail, Douglas R. Egerton re-creates the cascade of unforeseen events that confounded political bosses, set North and South on the road to disunion, and put not Stephen Douglas but his greatest rival in the White House. Year of Meteors delivers a vibrant cast of characters—from the gifted, flawed Douglas to the Southern “fire-eaters,” who gleefully sabotaged their own party, to the untested Abraham Lincoln—and a breakneck narrative of this most momentous year in American history.

About Douglas R. Egerton

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Douglas R. Egerton is a professor of history at Le Moyne College. He is the author of six books, including Year of Meteors: Stephen Douglas, Abraham Lincoln, and the Election that Brought on the Civil War, He Shall Go Out Free: The Lives of Denmark Vesey, Gabriel's Rebellion: The Virginia Slave Conspiracies of 1800 and 1802, and Death or Liberty: African Americans and Revolutionary America. He lives near Syracuse, NY.
Published October 4, 2010 by Bloomsbury Press. 416 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, War, Science & Math, Biographies & Memoirs. Non-fiction

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The election of 1860—between war and the bitterness of failed compromise.

Sep 28 2010 | Read Full Review of Year of Meteors: Stephen Doug...

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