Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Highly Recommended

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Beautifully written. Extraordinary detail. Published in 1941. Won the Pulitzer prize. A non-fiction examination of what was happening in Washington, D.C. during the Civil War. 

Historian David McCullough says it is his favorite book about the city, one that he has "read and re-read and pushed on friends for years."

An excerpt from the part dealing with the atmosphere just prior to the war:

The North might worry over tumbling markets; in Washington there was revolution, and men feared for democratic government. A very young man of the Adams family, who was attempting that winter what he called an education in treason, observed "the singular spectacle of a government trying to destroy itself." The conspiracy for disunion was not confined to the States, but permeated the highest councils of the nation. It was unique among revolutions only in its impunity. Southern senators and representatives made no secret of their disloyalty to the Union. Three members of the President's Cabinet had been deeply implicated: Howell Cobb of Georgia, Secretary of the Treasury; John B. Floyd of Virginia, Secretary of War; and Jacob Thompson of Mississippi, Secretary of the Interior. Clerks in the Government departments sported secession cockades on their coats, and loudly over their whisky at Willard's bar vowed that Lincoln should never be inaugurated.

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