• Every Drop of Blood

  • Hatred and Healing at Lincoln's Second Inauguration
  • By: Edward Achorn
  • Narrated by: Adam Barr
  • Length: 12 hrs and 38 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (191 ratings)

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Every Drop of Blood

By: Edward Achorn
Narrated by: Adam Barr
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Publisher's Summary

A brilliantly conceived and vividly drawn story - Washington, D.C. on the eve of Abraham Lincoln’s historic second inaugural address as the lens through which to understand all the complexities of the Civil War

By March 4, 1865, the Civil War had slaughtered more than 700,000 Americans and left intractable wounds on the nation. After a morning of rain-drenched fury, tens of thousands crowded Washington’s Capitol grounds that day to see Abraham Lincoln take the oath for a second term. As the sun emerged, Lincoln rose to give perhaps the greatest inaugural address in American history, stunning the nation by arguing, in a brief 701 words, that both sides had been wrong, and that the war’s unimaginable horrors - every drop of blood spilled - might well have been God’s just verdict on the national sin of slavery. 

Edward Achorn reveals the nation’s capital on that momentous day - with its mud, sewage, and saloons, its prostitutes, spies, reporters, social-climbing spouses and power-hungry politicians - as a microcosm of all the opposing forces that had driven the country apart. A host of characters, unknown and famous, had converged on Washington - from grievously wounded Union colonel Selden Connor in a Washington hospital and the embarrassingly drunk new vice president, Andrew Johnson, to poet-journalist Walt Whitman; from soldiers’ advocate Clara Barton and African-American leader and Lincoln critic-turned-admirer Frederick Douglass (who called the speech “a sacred effort”) to conflicted actor John Wilkes Booth - all swirling around the complex figure of Lincoln. 

In indelible scenes, Achorn vividly captures the frenzy in the nation’s capital at this crucial moment in America’s history and the tension-filled hope and despair afflicting the country as a whole, soon to be heightened by Lincoln's assassination. His story offers new understanding of our great national crisis, and echoes down the decades to resonate in our own time. 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.  

©2020 by Edward Achorn. Recorded by arrangement with Atlantic Monthly Press, an imprint of Grove Atlantic, Inc. (P)2020 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about Every Drop of Blood

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  • Overall
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New and fascinating

After almost 15,000 books that have been written about Lincoln and dozens that I have read I was surprised at the new insights from this book. I heard the author being interviewed on a broadcast and before the show was over I had ordered this book. I have now been through it three times. This author is somewhat of a genius and has an agreeable writing style. The narration is pleasant to listen to which is very important in an audible book. I strongly suggest you get it.

16 people found this helpful

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A better look into Lincoln’s struggle over a god.

The best insight in particular into Lincoln’s cognitive dissonance with a lack of reasonable evidence for the God of the Bible and the emotional needs and strain and fear of leading a nation during war in which everyone was tempted to find some sort of overarching plan or purpose from a god when there was none.

6 people found this helpful

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Tremendous

The stories of Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War are always so amazing and pertinent to modern America in so many ways. Great reading performance by Mr. Barr.
Thank you it was very enjoyable

6 people found this helpful

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An Anthem For Our Time

This excellent book reminds us that Lincoln's quest has yet to be fully achieved. We must carry the banner of "malice toward none and charity for all" until all men are free and equal.

5 people found this helpful

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Worth the read

This book was enjoyable, and had several details which I did not know before. I had the impression the author was stretching some occurrences to make the narrative long enough for a book.

I am happy the author affirmed my long held beliefs about Lincoln’s attitude toward abolition. Many point to his pre-war comments to suggest he was not an abolitionist. The author provides details from Lincoln’s second inaugural to demonstrate he very much was, but knew he had to play politics to get it done.

4 people found this helpful

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  • BK
  • 05-23-20

An extraordinary work of history

Extremely well-done history of the speech itself and the many threads of history of history that led up to it: the war itself (of course), the public perceptions of Lincoln (surprisingly crude and unforgiving), the people and their experiences (an extraordinary assembly that includes, in part, Walt Whitman tending to wounded soldiers in the hospitals; John Wilkes Booth, seething through DC and elsewhere and tending a secret romance with the daughter of a sitting American senator; Salmon P. Chase, haughty and ambitious, and his striking daughter, Kate; Ulysses Grant; foreign dignitaries; and many, many others, famous, infamous, and forgotten); the angry politics of the time and the diverse ways in which Lincoln's in which Lincoln's proclamations and speeches were received; the muddy streets of DC, filled with enormous numbers of people, on the day the speech was give; the thousands of people standing in line to enter the White House to shake Lincoln's hand... It is a rich tapestry, and Achorn is adept at tracing each thread in a very accessible and engaging way.

Adam Barr's narration was very good -- perfect pace, tone, and enunciation.

4 people found this helpful

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President of a House Divided

The parallels to today's fractured America are striking.

Author Achorn presents a wide-ranging review of the political landscape of the day, a setting roiling with the ingrained hatred of man for man. Elected to a second term, Lincoln delivers his inaugural address to a stressed nation that is struggling to come to terms with a cultural chasm that persists to this day.

2 people found this helpful

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A fascinating tale

The days leading up to Lincoln's second inauguration come to life in Achorn's vivid narrative. This critical moment in U.S. history is recounted through the writings and descriptions of dozens who witnessed that occasion. It's a fascinating tale.

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If you hate Lincoln, you will love this.

This is an account of every criticism of Lincoln. It’s a one point of view book with no discussion of other contemporary points of view.

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Outstanding history

This is an excellent recounting of the time around Lincoln’s second inauguration. It is important to be reminded of the opposition to ending slavery and the moral and practical bases on which Lincoln proceeded. It is very well read.