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Book cover of 1858: Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant and the War they Failed to See

1858: Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant and the War they Failed to See

by Bruce Chadwick

Publisher: Sourcebooks, Incorporated
Hardcover
ISBN: 9781402209413






Available to Buy

Synopsis of 1858: Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant and the War they Failed to See

1858 explores the events and personalities of the year that would send the America's North and South on a collision course culminating in the slaughter of 630,000 of the nation's young men, a greater number than died in any other American conflict.

Publishers Weekly

Former journalist Chadwick (The General and Mrs. Washington) deals with much more than the previously underappreciated year of 1858 in this engagingly written book. By focusing on the men who drove crucial historical events, Chadwick provides plenty of pre-1858 background to make his case that the events of that year "changed the lives of dozens of important people" and "within a few short years, the history of the nation." Chadwick examines the lives of six who would become the biggest players in the Civil War: Lincoln, Davis, Sherman, Lee, Grant and William Seward, and two others-John Brown and Stephen Douglas-whose actions helped precipitate the conflict. He also offers an insightful look at the enigmatic, eccentric man who was in the White House in 1858, Democrat James Buchanan of Pennsylvania. Chadwick shows clearly how Buchanan dithered-on the slavery issue and in foolish foreign adventures in Paraguay, Mexico and Cuba, among other things-while Rome was about to burn. Buchanan, Chadwick correctly notes, "was certainly not the sole cause of the Civil War," just "one of many, but his ineffectiveness as chief executive dealt a crippling blow to the nation." (Apr.)

Copyright 2007Reed Business Information

About the Author, Bruce Chadwick

As 1858 dawned, the men who would become the iconic figures of the Civil War had no idea it was about to occur: Jefferson Davis was ill from an attack of herpes; Robert E. Lee was on the verge of resigning from the military; and William Tecumseh Sherman had been reduced to running a roadside food stand. Meanwhile, the maniacal President James Buchanan was raving over perceived threats to his power. He did nothing as debates erupted around the country following two violent attempts by white Northerners to free Southern slaves.

By the end of 1858, Jefferson Davis had become the South's spokesman for the secessionist cause, New York Senator William Seward attested the Union was in "irresistible conflict" over slavery that might end in war, the anti-slavery advocate Abraham Lincoln had lost a Senate seat but had won the respect of millions, and the North and South were set on a collision course that would end with the deaths of 630,000 young men.

This is the story of seven men on the brink of a war that would transform them into American legends, and the events of the year that set our union on fire.

Bruce Chadwick is a former journalist and author of eight works of history, including The First American Army, George Washington's War, The General and Mrs. Washington, Brother Against Brother, Two American Presidents, Traveling the Underground Railroad and The Reel Civil War. He lectures in American history at Rutgers University and also teaches writing at New Jersey City University.

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