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.

Mann, a LSU professor of journalism, has written a crisp, short volume about the famous 1964 Johnson campaign ad that – without ever mentioning Goldwater’s name – labeled him as someone too dangerous to trust with his finger on the nuclear trigger.

An Iowan who now teaches at Des Moines Community College, Mr. Danielson did graduate work at the University of Alabama and, in this fast-paced volume, demonstrates a Northern sensibility to original Southern source material that helps readers understand how the Civil War shaped attitudes and politics for over a century.

An independent historian, Bordewich has written a lively, deeply researched volume on the Compromise which, while it did not save the Union, at least kept it together for ten critical years during which the northern states could unwittingly prepare its industrial muscle and transportation sinews for the coming Civil War.

The noted historian of the turbulent decades before the Civil War has written a short yet vivid history of the event that kept the nation together for one last decade, the Compromise of 1850 that inadvertently bought time for the North to grow in population and war-making capacity, thereby making victory for the South unlikely when conflict came.

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