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.
“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)
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.
I strive to learn something new every day of my life. This audio book allowed me to learn more about the Civil War.
Contains much historical information that I had not previously heard. It describes in depth many historical, social, economic and personal factors influencing the reasons for and early progress of the civil war.
Goodheart gives great insight into the events leading up to the Civil War. One would think this has been well covered by other books, but Goodheart tells the events from the perspective of everyday citizens and the thoughts and fears of the time. The Wide Awake movement was very interesting. This is a very good addendum to anyone who likes to read about the Civil War and wants to dig beneath the stories of Lincoln, Lee, Sherman and the other leaders trust into the center stage of history.
Sometimes it felt like "Groundhog Day" the movie -- going back over and over the same time. Fascinating to get such a complete national view of the run up to the war. Great accessible history. I would recommend it highly for anyone who simply wants to learn more about America. Staunch defenders of the South -- watch out -- the author does not allow revisionist history pretending that it wasn't about slavery. Staunch Northerners watch out too...not everyone in the North was a far-sighted abolitionist. A great read.
A good book if you are interested in the B characters in the pro-Union camp. The author writes very little about southerners and very little about happenings in the south. Bull Run gets about a page and a half but Elmer Ellsworth gets page after page. If you are looking for the vast scope of happenings in 1861 I would suggest you look elsewhere.
I was glad the book was over. It was interesting but narrow in scope.
Do you read the book before you dislike my reviews?
You really have to be a history major, which I am not, to enjoy this book because there is too much inside baseball, where you get overwhelmed with information behind the glass window.
At first, I wasn't too sure in what I was getting into because it start off with personal commentary from the author, which I don't like, but if you get through the first 30 minutes, the book goes in depth on why we had a Civil War,, like slavery, religion, political events and etc.
This is not your ordinary book on war, but very detail facts on what happen to lead us to the Civil War.
Toward the end, the book became harder to process because it just goes on and on without an end.
This title should had been broken up in different volumes in a series because it just got too overwhelming to remain focus on the subject.
The author's premise seems to be that the events of 1860 and early 1861, especially the firing on Fort Sumpter, changed the northern US population from an attitude of "co-existence" with slavery to a war fever and follows that conversion through the stories of assorted individuals. While some are well known to history (for example Major Robert Anderson and James Garfield) most are unknown or little known today.
While I personally find the premise unconvincing (slavery had already radicalized much of the North by the time of the Dredd Scott decision) the stories of the individuals are themselves interesting. I have to admit that although I have read a lot about the lead-up to the Civil War and the war itself much of this information was new to me.
I have only given this book 4 stars (I would have given it 3 1/2 if I could) because I do not feel that the stories, although interesting, contributed to my knowledge of this period. There is one exception and that is the stories of the "contraband" in Virginia. I knew nothing of this event and it does much to explain the attitude of the southern slaves.
The narration is adequate but uninspired. I have heard much worse, but also much better.
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