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1861: The Civil War Awakening Audiobook

1861: The Civil War Awakening

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Publisher's Summary

As the United States marks the 150th anniversary of our defining national drama, 1861 presents a gripping and original account of how the Civil War began.

1861 is an epic of courage and heroism beyond the battlefields. Early in that fateful year, a second American revolution unfolded, inspiring a new generation to reject their parents' faith in compromise and appeasement, to do the unthinkable in the name of an ideal. It set Abraham Lincoln on the path to greatness and millions of slaves on the road to freedom.

The book introduces us to a heretofore little-known cast of Civil War heroes - among them an acrobatic militia colonel, an explorer's wife, an idealistic band of German immigrants, a regiment of New York City firemen, a community of Virginia slaves, and a young college professor who would one day become president. Adam Goodheart takes us from the corridors of the White House to the slums of Manhattan, from the mouth of the Chesapeake to the deserts of Nevada, from Boston Common to Alcatraz Island, vividly evoking the Union at this moment of ultimate crisis and decision.

©2011 Adam Goodheart (P)2011 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

  • Audie Award Winner, History, 2012

“With boundless verve, Adam Goodheart has sketched an uncommonly rich tableau of America on the cusp of the Civil War. The research is impeccable, the cast of little-known characters we are introduced to is thoroughly fascinating, the book is utterly thought-provoking, and the story is luminescent. What a triumph.” (Jay Winik, author of New York Times best-sellers April 1865 and The Great Upheaval)

"Engrossing .... Tension is palpable on every page .... Goodheart's book is an impressive accomplishment, a delightful read, and a valuable contribution that will entertain and challenge." (Harvard Magazine)

"Exhilarating ... inspiring ... irresistible ... 1861 creates the uncanny illusion that the reader has stepped into a time machine." (New York Times Book Review, cover review)

"In his marvelous book... Goodheart brings us into 19th-century America, as ambiguous, ambitious and fractured as the times we live in now, and he brings to pulsing life the hearts and minds of its American citizens." (Huffington Post)

“Jonathan Davis's narration sets the scene with hints of foreboding, creating a feeling of tension about the impending war. He draws listeners into stories of people like recaptured slave Lucy Bagby and future president James Garfield….Goodheart's meticulous research and lively writing will appeal to any history buff.” (AudioFile)

"Beautifully written and thoroughly original--quite unlike any other Civil War book out there." (Kirkus Reviews, starred review)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (855 )
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  •  
    Mary Altman St Cloud, fl, US 04-13-17
    Mary Altman St Cloud, fl, US 04-13-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Reads like fiction"

    It is a rare book that makes history so real and heartfelt. Even though I'm familiar with the subject matter I have never felt the crushing sadness of the war and of the people of the time. This book made history feel personal and contemporary.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    ceciliatella Italy 03-07-17
    ceciliatella Italy 03-07-17 Member Since 2016
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    "A good introduction to the war"
    Where does 1861: The Civil War Awakening rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    1861: The Civil War Awakening is a good introduction to the Civil War, depicting the lives of many characters in the months that lead to the war, in particular from the Union side. Abraham Lincoln, James A. Garfield, Robert Anderson, Jessie Fremont are among the main point of views described. The book gave a vivid sense of time and context, in particular regarding the speed of media information, the telegraph, the background of people involved, the anti-slavery movement and the political opinions surrounding the election of Lincoln.


    What other book might you compare 1861: The Civil War Awakening to and why?

    By its own admission, 1861 wasn't structured as an average historical chronicle of facts, but showed a large range of point of view in different positions (from Fort Sumter to California) to provide the reader a general context of the casus belli. It wasn't a retelling of the war but an introduction to the cultural and political contexts that gave birth to the war.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I really liked the inclusion of women abolitionists and the California Society for the wire.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No, it's an historical analysis, not a novel.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott C Atkins 02-21-17 Member Since 2014
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    "All things 1861"

    Awesome collection of people, events, and ideas surrounding the time line of 1861 and how the tie together what happened because of these events and what they lead to next.
    Overall a great read with an outstanding performance.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 02-17-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Great exploration of the early days of the war."

    A fascinating look at the secession crisis and the very early days of the war.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bette 02-14-17
    Bette 02-14-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Fabulous!"

    This is the book I've been waiting a lifetime for. A book on the origins of the Civil War that doesn't devolve into a painstaking description of battlefields and the multiple mistakes of generals like McClellan and even Grant. I've learned about seismic movements like the "Wide awakes," the Zouave Americans, the Contrabands, and others; and people like Jesse Benton Fremont, Thomas Starr King, Charles King, Mallory, Nathaniel Lyon, Mary Chestnut, and Shepherd Mallory; and new insights into John Garfield, Abner Doubleday, Major Anderson (Fort Sumter), John Fremont, John Tyler, and General Butler.

    I couldn't recommend this more to any others who are interested in the Civil War as anything other than a succession of battlefields.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Jason Walley 02-09-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Relevant To A Modern Reader"

    The thread of stories woven together to form a finished tapestry more recognizable to a modern reader. The performer reading the book also did a good job of giving a unique voice to each person speaking throughout the text. One of my favorites thus far.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Russell Bernard Salt Lake City, Utah United States 09-08-16
    Russell Bernard Salt Lake City, Utah United States 09-08-16 Member Since 2014

    Avid Listener of books at 1-1/2 times the normal speed. Trying to make up for all those boring high school teachers that could not reach me.

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    "Wow, opened a new world of civil war history"

    I found this book very enthralling, I loved the stories of Elmer Ellsworth and his Zouaves, was fascinating as they naively went to war and the destruction that resulted. The contraband issue and Major Butler where very informative.

    I have listened to several Great Courses by Gary Gallagher about the civil war and this book shed much new light on the subject.



    The narration was very good and enjoyable

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Leo McNeill 07-15-16
    Leo McNeill 07-15-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Great Con Law and Civil War book"

    Understanding the enviroment leading up to the Civil War was enlightening and empowering for me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Timothy Foley 05-23-16
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    "Great history"

    This is a great overview of some of the lesser known stories of 1861. It is an eye-opening account of the political and cultural situation of the time. There were many head shaking moments when confronted with the ideas of the 1800s. Yet it highlights some of the current issues that we deal with in this country today.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Amazon Customer 10-27-15 Member Since 2014
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    "An excellent book"

    This is an excellent book and as such I can highly recommend it as I learned a great deal from it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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