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Publisher's Summary

The unlikely man at the roiling center of this intrigue was Robert Bunch, an American-born Englishman who had maneuvered his way to the position of British consul in Charleston, South Carolina, and grew to loathe slavery and the righteousness of its practitioners. Bunch used his unique perch and boundless ambition to become a key player, sending reams of dispatches to the home government and eventually becoming the Crown's best secret source on the Confederacy. But doing so required living a double life. To his Charleston neighbors, Bunch was increasingly a pillar of Southern society. But to the British government, he was a strident abolitionist, eviscerating Southern dissembling on plans regarding the slave trade.

Our Man in Charleston is a masterfully told story of an unknown crusader. Award-winning author Christopher Dickey locates Consul Bunch as the key figure among Englishmen in America. Determined to ensure the triumph of morality in the inevitable march to civil war, he helped determine the fate of a nation. Featuring a cast of remarkable characters, Our Man in Charleston also captures a decisive moment in Anglo-American history: the pitched battle between those who wished to reopen the floodgates of bondage and misery and those who wished to dam the tide forever.

©2015 Original Material © 2015 by Christopher Dickey. By Arrangement with Crown, an imprint of Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc. (P)2015 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Not a spy novel

Like other readers I was expecting a bit more espionage based on the title and description, but this was much more about diplomacy and the British government's perspective of the Civil War. I enjoyed the unique angle on Charleston and the Confederacy this book offered and would suggest it to any history buff. I learned a lot of new details about the war.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A New Perspective

I rather enjoyed the story of Robert Bunch and his work before and during the American Civil War. It gives a new insight into how European powers such as Britain and, to a lesser degree, France saw the conflict and the issue of slavery.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • JW
  • los angeles
  • 05-31-16

great listen

little told story about her majesty's spy in Charleston. I could barely tell it was nonfiction. very well read with no hokey accents or anything. highly recommended.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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One of the most interesting book I have read

What did you love best about Our Man in Charleston?

A quite different perspective on American history

What was one of the most memorable moments of Our Man in Charleston?

An understanding of a British view of the American south before the Civil War

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Truly horrendous descriptions of slave ships; one can hardly fathom the misery

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Daniel
  • North Potomac, MD, United States
  • 01-07-17

Antebellum South Through Foreign Eyes

This book offers a great insight into the pre Civil War South as well as the war years. The focus of the book is the British Counsul in Charleston. Britain had a number of Consuls in the south during the war, offering invaluable insights into what was going on there and trying to get British subjects out of the Confederate army. I think it is a nice addition to any Civil War buffs library.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Raleigh
  • greensboro, NC, United States
  • 03-09-16

cavaliers to tories to confederates / 0 for 3

? did you grow up in the old, old part of the south
? were civil war stories handed down to you by your elders
? would a true insider's view of the confederacy intrigue you

if so, then the story of charleston's mr. robert bunch might interest you
dickey sourced the journals of this midlevel british diplomat in south carolina
the confederates saw mr. bunch as an ally, his journals tell a very different story

as a person, mr. bunch was a relentless social climber and a bit of a parasite
it's his well documented insights into the confederacy, that made him interesting
the south convinced itself that england had solid incentives to be their ally

the truth was, that britian could find other sources for needed raw materials
they saw american southerners as provincial, inept and doomed to failure
slavery had ended in the british empire 30 years prior; they didn't want a repeat

america's southern planters had a talent for being on the wrong side of history
britian's government understood this and saw no need to back a losing cause
from cavaliers to tories to confederates, adds up to an 0 for 3 batting average









1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Reads like a gripping novel

What did you love best about Our Man in Charleston?

As someone who loves the South, American and British history, and is fascinated by the Civil War... it was almost like an exceedingly well written first person novel.

It has humor, plenty of tragedy, frustration, and ultimately, vindication.

Who was your favorite character and why?

The consul.

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

No.

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

The details of the Middle Passage are horrific.

Any additional comments?

Good use of your credit.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Outstanding account of events leading up to and of the Civil War!!!'

This is an interesting side.light of the day to day occurrences and how the outcome was affected.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Very interesting

A great story and it was entertaining and educational. A part of the civil war, the relationship of England to the conflict that you hear very often. Also life in Charlestown before the war.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Engaging, Worthwhile Perspective

The book is a though-provoking account of the American Civil War and slavery from the perspective of a (partial) outsider. It details quite effectively the balance required by a British consul in Charleston in maintaining workable relationships amongst people whose views on nearly every social issue were repugnant to him.

As an erstwhile resident of Charleston in the late 20th century, I recognised the same persistent contemptuous attitudes in that city, not only on race, but on class and gender. Echoes of that same supremacy and perverse perceived chivalric history of the ruling class in South Carolina still exist to this day, which continues to subjugate the poorer members of the society, black and white.

The only criticism I have, which perhaps can be forgiven due the the narrow scope of the subject, was the lack of nuance with regard to broader regional social attitudes towards the institution of slavery. It's true that most all of the individuals in the story are fairly well fleshed out. However, the generalised presentation of Northern vs. Southern attitudes was a bit flimsy, and could have done with a bit more depth. Additionally, the author seems to have either a naive or chauvinistic (perhaps with good reason), view of British attitudes of the peculiar institution which are not altogether authoritative. Again, this is perhaps merely a lack of nuance sacrificed for expediency. But it's nothing that detracted from the enjoyment of the story.