America Aflame: How the Civil War Created a Nation

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Bloomsbury Publishing USA, Mar 15, 2011 - History - 640 pages
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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.

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - MarkBeronte - LibraryThing

In this spellbinding history, David Goldfield offers the first major new interpretation of the Civil War era since James M. McPherson’s Battle Cry of Freedom. Where other scholars have seen the ... Read full review

AMERICA AFLAME: How the Civil War Created a Nation

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

Not just a reappraisal of the Civil War, but an exemplary cultural study of 19th-century America.Goldfield (History/Univ. of North Carolina, Charlotte; Still Fighting the Civil War, 2002, etc.) does ... Read full review

Contents

A Nation Reborn
1
Crusades
17
Empire
42
Revolutions
59
Railroaded
86
Blood on the Plains
105
Revival 28
128
The Boatman
161
War Is Cruelty
318
One Nation Indivisible
344
The Age of Reason
370
Aspirations
397
A Golden Moment 47
417
The Golden Spike
439
Political Science
456
Let It Be
483

The Tug Comes 8
180
Just Causes
205
Shiloh Awakening
224
Born in a Day
245
Blood and Transcendence
268
A New Nation
296
Centennial
506
Acknowledgments Notes
539
Bibliography
591
Index
617
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

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

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