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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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    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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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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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.

14 of 21 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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 .

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A Captivating Work of American History

Superbly researched, written and narrated. As a ardent student of American history, I never quite realized what this period meant in shaping our country. For many of my southern friends in denial of the fact that slavery was the flashpoint and main factor behind the Civil War, this read will utterly change their way of thinking for good. It's a long listen, but well worth the time.

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  • NK
  • Buffalo Gap, TX United States
  • 09-03-18

The Impending Crisis

Very interesting book. Narration was well done. Well worth the listen to learn more detail on the period before the civil war. Many items in play at that time are discussed

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Excellent Book

I found this narrative history of antebellum America well written, well narrated, and we'll researched. There may be one or two places where I disagreed with the author's interpretation of the themes, events, causes, and consequences but I found his treatment of the history of the period solid. And the prose and narration were perfectly suited to each other.