BOOKS

1861: The Civil War Awakening

8adc24bb064bd3c4dfe891532209c3cb

This is a wonderful, brisk exploration by a talented historian of the Civil War’s first year.  Adam Goodheart tells the story of America’s descent into conflict through sketches of memorable characters who may be unfamiliar now, but who were very well known to the country then.  These include the commandant of Fort Sumner, the young military officer whose tragic death plunged President Abraham Lincoln into despair, and the three slaves whose escape to freedom helped alter public opinion in the North and seal the fate of the South’s “peculiar institution.”  This is a great read.    

Related Books

What Karl's reading

After three years preparing The Triumph of William McKinley by reading very little but books, letters, articles and newspapers from the Gilded Age, I’m trying to get back into my regular routine, which I’ll chronicle here with an occasional review of what I’ve read.

C06dce0cd31f318097ca531c921a0164
Since this year (actually April 23) is the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare, expect more than a few books on the Bard of Stratford-upon-Avon in the next few book reviews. Emma Smith is an Oxford professor who has written about the famed “First Folio,” the effort of two of Shakespeare’s friends and fellow actors to collect and publish the works of the man now considered the world’s greatest dramatist.
Db8080a3835844c4f5cca8ec5ebeba27
Blogger and radio host Ed Morrissey has written a slim, powerful volume about what Republicans must do to win the 2016 presidential election. He examines trends in seven counties in battleground states that President George W. Bush won in 2004, but which were lost by Senator John McCain in 2008 and Governor Mitt Romney in 2012.
Fc7332df3e47d7def4ee8387c321ec91
One of America’s great popular historians, Gordon has written a compact and enjoyable history of the Washington Monument which ranges from Egypt’s Middle Kingdom to the Revolutionary War to the worst recorded earthquake to hit the Nation’s Capital, with appearances by the Masons, the Know-Nothings, Napoleon, assorted European aristocrats and ancient inventors.
B4da12b89c01f453a7fea849d1e01ef8
Normally, I don’t read much historical fiction. The real stuff is just as exciting, with rich story lines jammed with as many twists and turns and interesting characters as any novel. But C. S. Lewis once wrote that “imagination is the source of meaning” and occasionally, I’ve found a piece of fiction that deepens my understanding of an historical figure.

Button karlsbooks 8115560310d99dcf7066a6791c2abb0e6e44efbce9d2a69ac5febbadd06cf979
Button readinglist 0c30cf88cf3c963eb72013f1b5906b6848694ba842d6efa0de8d2d3efbfd8fd2
Button nextapperance d1e601b7044cba97bcfe46cdf8bc572ab09797ca56157b5f533c25051217bb69