America Aflame

America Aflame

How the Civil War Created A Nation

Book - 2011
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Baker & Taylor
In this history, the author offers a new interpretation of the Civil War era since James M. McPherson's "Battle Cry of Freedom." Where past scholars have limned the war as a triumph of freedom, this author sees it as America's greatest failure: the result of a breakdown caused by the infusion of evangelical religion into the public sphere. As the Second Great Awakening surged through America, political questions became matters of good and evil to be fought to the death. The price of that failure was horrific, but the carnage accomplished what statesmen could not.

McMillan Palgrave

In this spellbinding new history, David Goldfield offers the first major new interpretation of the Civil War era since James M. McPherson's Battle Cry of Freedom. Where past scholars have limned the war as a triumph of freedom, Goldfield sees it as America's greatest failure: the result of a breakdown caused by the infusion of evangelical religion into the public sphere. As the Second GreatAwakening surged through America, political questions became matters of good and evil to be fought to the death.

The price of that failure was horrific, but the carnage accomplished what statesmen could not: It made the United States one nation and eliminated slavery as a divisive force in the Union. The victorious North became synonymous with America as a land of innovation and industrialization, whose teeming cities offered squalor and opportunity in equal measure. Religion was supplanted by science and a gospel of progress, and the South was left behind.

Goldfield's panoramic narrative, sweeping from the 1840s to the end of Reconstruction, is studded with memorable details and luminaries such as HarrietBeecher Stowe, Frederick Douglass, and Walt Whitman. There are lesser known yet equally compelling characters, too, including Carl Schurz-a German immigrant, warhero, and postwar reformer-and Alexander Stephens, the urbane and intellectual vice president of the Confederacy. America Aflame is a vivid portrait of the "fiery trial"that transformed the country we live in.

David Goldfield is the Robert Lee Bailey Professor of History at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. He is the author of many works on Southern history, including Still Fighting the Civil War; Black, White, and Southern; and Promised Land.



Book News
In this study of evangelical Christianity during the Civil War and Reconstruction periods, Goldfield (history, U. of North Carolina-Charlotte) shows how evangelical Christianity polarized political debate about the Western frontier, Roman Catholics, and especially slavery. The author regards evangelical Christianity as a toxic factor in limiting the options of political leaders. The book opens with the destruction of the Ursuline Convent in Charlestown Massachusetts by a Protestant mob in 1834, and concludes with the 1876 Centennial Exhibition. The author tells the story mainly through the lives of the second post-revolutionary generation that came of age in the 1830s, focusing especially on Harriet Beecher Stowe, Frederick Douglas, Abraham Lincoln, Alexander Stephens, and Walt Whitman. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Blackwell Publishing
In this spellbinding new history of the Civil War, David Goldfield crafts the first major reinterpretation of the conflict---its causes and costs---since James M. McPherson's Battle Cry of Freedom. Where past scholars have limned the war as a triumph of freedom, Goldfield sees it as America's greatest failure: a breakdown caused by the infusion of evangelical religion into the public sphere. As the Second Great Awakening surged through the nation, political questions became matters of good and evil---differences serious enough to kill and die for.

The price of the war was horrific, but the carnage also accomplished what statesmen could not: it made the United States one nation and eliminated the divisive presence of slavery. The victorious North became synonymous with America---the land of innovation and industry, whose teeming cities offered squalor and opportunity in equal measure. Science and the gospel of progress supplanted religion, and the South was left behind to nurture its myth of the Lost Cause.

Goldfield's panoramic narrative, sweeping from the 1830s to the end of Reconstruction, sparkles with telling details and memorable figures, from Harriet Beecher Stowe, Frederick Douglass, and Walt Whitman to lesser-known but equally intriguing characters such as Carl Schurz---German immigrant, war hero, and postwar reformer; and Confederate vice president Alexander Stephens---urbane, intellectual, and an eloquent apologist for slavery. America Aflame is a fresh and original account of the era that transformed the United States forever.

"In America Aflame, distinguished historian David Goldfield turns an inflinching eye on a---if not the---central event in American history. The resulting narrative goes far toward correcting the popular tendency to romantixize the Civil War. Few histories of the war make its meaning and impact so central to their narratives."---Gaines M. Foster, author of Ghosts of the Confederacy and Moral Reconstruction

Baker
& Taylor

A narrative history of the Civil War era outlines a provocative view that the conflict occurred as a result of a breakdown induced by the infusion of evangelical religion into the public sphere, causing citizens to regard political differences as matters of good and evil to be fought at any cost. 50,000 first printing.
A narrative history of the Civil War era argues that the conflict occurred as a result of a breakdown induced by the infusion of evangelical religion into the public sphere, causing citizens to regard political differences as matters of good and evil to be fought at any cost.

Publisher: New York : Bloomsbury Press, 2011
Edition: 1st U.S. ed
ISBN: 9781596917026
1596917024
Branch Call Number: 973.711 GOL
Characteristics: 632 p

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