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The Impending Crisis

America Before the Civil War: 1848-1861
Narrated by: Eric Martin
Length: 22 hrs and 41 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (193 ratings)
Regular price: $39.95
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Publisher's Summary

David M. Potter's Pulitzer Prize-winning The Impending Crisis is the definitive history of antebellum America. Potter's sweeping epic masterfully charts the chaotic forces that climaxed with the outbreak of the Civil War: westward expansion, the divisive issue of slavery, the Dred Scott decision, John Brown's uprising, the ascension of Abraham Lincoln, and the drama of Southern secession. The Impending Crisis remains one of the most celebrated works of American historical writing.

©1976 Estate of David M. Potter (P)2017 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"David M. Potter's magisterial The Impending Crisis is the single best account to date of the coming of the Civil War." ( Civil War History)

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

Great History Book

There is much detail on the nature and structure of the sectional crisis in the years between Mexico and Fort Sumter.

Missouri Compromise, Kansas-Nebraska, demise of the Whigs, ascendancy of the Republicans, and the ambitions of the South explained.

Finally, you get a very detailed explanation of the 1860 election that led to Lincoln and why that was so alarming to the South.

This is a quality history book.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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the best book on this period, still

written many years ago, but it is stil by far the best on the subject

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Great book, OK audiobook

Read and loved the book years ago and thought the audiobook would add to my understanding of the era. Not that the narration was bad but I was easily distracted. Subject material just lends itself better to print instead of listening, at least that was the case for me.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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A Slog for Sure

While the book has several interesting points to make about the factors that lead the Antebellum U.S. to Civil War, its narrative is weak at best. There is tenuous cohesion between chapters, themes and its chronology often doubles back on itself confusingly. It's as if the authors stitched together a number of academic essays with the common thread of "Impending Crisis" woven throughout. These essays often digress into pedantry that distracts from the whole. maybe this was meant for history buffs who aren't interested in a narrative of these years and are instead looking for an granular (if disjointed) analysis.
Despite my strong interest in the subject, I felt like I was not the intended audience for this book - even more so as this book doesn't seem to be an effective audiobook. Too many digressions and unexplained references. I finished it, yes, but it was a slog for sure.

15 of 22 people found this review helpful

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loved the history, had to speed up the narration.

Filled with great history! Very well written. The narrator was way too slow! I look forward to reading more of his books.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Absolutely best written book on civil war causes!

For American history devotees, this is a must read. A worthy Pulitzer winner. Should be required reading in all US history classes. Fascinating how many themes and American politicians were included in this narrative. Very ably narrated.

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Excellent Political History

This is an outstanding political history of the years from the Polk administration to the surrender of Fort Sumter. The author presents a detailed examination of the federal, state and territorial struggles between the sectional forces striving for continuation and expansion of slavery and those fighting for containment and abolition of the institution. Narration is excellent. This is not a listen for anyone looking for an overview; treatment of the various crises during this critical period leading to the Civil War is painstakingly researched and presented. I recommend it to those looking for an understanding of how America arrived at the bloody war that followed Lincoln’s election in 1860.

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  • philip
  • bronx, NY, United States
  • 03-04-19

All Time Classic

This is a great book. It’s a perfect mix of narrative and analysis of the dozen years leading up to the Civil War. It was written in 1976 and so I would say that the tone is occasionally dated but not the scholarship.

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Loved it!

Excellent book that covers one of the most transformative times in American history. Very well research with a command of previous historians work around the cause of civil war. New insight and a real joy for lovers of American history. I particularly enjoyed the political history.

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The first hour was painfull, too much detail

I am a history buff but this book went into too much detail and hour to disribe how the treaty to end the Mexican war of 1848 got passed .