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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

4.1 (907 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Paul New York, NY, United States 04-07-12
    Paul New York, NY, United States 04-07-12

    Media Nerd

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "HISTORY LIVE IN YOUR EARS"
    If you could sum up 1861: The Civil War Awakening in three words, what would they be?

    unexpected great read.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I listened to Adam Goodheart's book on the start of the Civil War with my web search engine and Google Maps ready to zoom in on the people and places so excellently described and chronicled in 1861. Following Harry Bosch around L.A. in a Connelly book is one thing but tracing the emotions and feelings of real characters and locations that led the country to civil war is far more exciting. Mr. Goodheart patches together the personal and published accounts of long dead witnesses to the nation's gradual split and blends it with an easy narrative that pulls you along. It's hard not to compare the politics and fervor of the time with the present. But most of all Goodheart introduces you to memorable characters living across the nation that played no small part in influencing the the minute by minute approach to the bloody war. An unexpected great read.


    Have you listened to any of Jonathan Davis’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    no


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    yes. I did reach each of the three parts in one sitting, walking and exercising.


    Any additional comments?

    I assume the book had photos of the terrific historical characters described with words. I do wish there was a way we AUDIO BOOK fans could see the illustrations of narrated works.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rodney 07-09-11
    Rodney 07-09-11 Member Since 2017
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    "Starts off well enough"

    The premise for this book is interesting, what were normal everyday people feeling and thinking leading up to the Civil War, however as the book goes along the author completely loses focus on what he’s writing back and it just ends up being hours upon about the evils of slavery. There are some interesting views into the lives of slaves, how much more freedom they enjoyed as opposed to what we might otherwise think – however these limited observations are surround by long segments of speculation on what slaves and owners alike might have been thinking. Isn’t this supposed to be a history book? The book is written almost entirely from a northern perspective – nothing wrong with that just know it’s very far from impartial. The final downside is how enthralled the author is with his own writing, needlessly painting and then repainting and coming back yet again to repaint the same scene. This is truly a book that could have used a good editor. In all the book was an interesting read in the places where it was original, however too much of the time it’s filled with speculation and long drawn out paragraphs trying in earnest to make you believe you’re reading a truly magnificent piece of literature – which you’re not. Still 3 out of 5 stars seems to be a fair score in my opinon.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Randy Portland, OR, United States 07-08-11
    Randy Portland, OR, United States 07-08-11 Member Since 2011
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    "Great."

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is informative and well written. Though I have read or listened to many books about the Civil War, I still learned a great deal from this one.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer United States 04-12-14
    Amazon Customer United States 04-12-14 Member Since 2015
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    "Fascinating dive into a year that changed history"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    yes, as long as they were interested in history, like I am. I loved how it wove together political, social and economic history by telling stories of individuals and cities, not just at the national level. I learned so much I had never heard before.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I am fascinated by history, particularly when it is from a first-person perspective (why I love historical fiction), and this story covered so much in such personal ways, I was glued to the story from beginning to end.


    What about Jonathan Davis’s performance did you like?

    It was so fluid, so perfect for this kind of book - used pauses and inflections well, I never felt I was being lectured at or read a newspaper story.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Average American life on the brink of history


    Any additional comments?

    So much history was in this book, though not exactly limited to 1861, but a few years before and a little after. I never realized how much happened in such a short period of time. Loved this and will be listening to it again.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael New Orleans, LA, United States 06-03-11
    Michael New Orleans, LA, United States 06-03-11
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    "Great"

    First book about the Great War I have found to be told from a neutral perspective. It inspired me to review the political motivations from the Northern and Southern viewpoints.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary Altman St Cloud, fl, US 04-13-17
    Mary Altman St Cloud, fl, US 04-13-17 Member Since 2017
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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.

    1 of 1 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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Travis Rhoades 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
  •  
    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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