The Field of Blood: Violence in Congress and the Road to Civil War

The Field of Blood: Violence in Congress and the Road to Civil War by Joanne B. Freeman 1250234581 9781250234582
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One of the best history books Ive read in the last few years. --Chris Hayes

A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF THE YEAR
AN NPR BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
ONE OF SMITHSONIANS BEST HISTORY BOOKS OF THE YEAR

The previously untold story of the violence in Congress that helped spark the Civil War

In The Field of Blood, Joanne B. Freeman recovers the long-lost story of physical violence on the floor of the U.S. Congress. Drawing on an extraordinary range of sources, she shows that the Capitol was rife with conflict in the decades before the Civil War. Legislative sessions were often punctuated by mortal threats, canings, flipped desks, and all-out slugfests. When debate broke down, congressmen drew pistols and waved Bowie knives. One representative even killed another in a duel. Many were beaten and bullied in an attempt to intimidate them into compliance, particularly on the issue of slavery.

These fights didnt happen in a vacuum. Freemans dramatic accounts of brawls and thrashings tell a larger story of how fisticuffs and journalism, and the powerful emotions they elicited, raised tensions between North and South and led toward war. In the process, she brings the antebellum Congress to life, revealing its rough realities--the feel, sense, and sound of it--as well as its nation-shaping import. Funny, tragic, and rivetingly told, The Field of Blood offers a front-row view of congressional mayhem and sheds new light on the careers of John Quincy Adams, Henry Clay, and other luminaries, as well as introducing a host of lesser-known but no less fascinating men. The result is a fresh understanding of the workings of American democracy and the bonds of Union on the eve of their greatest peril.

Author: Joanne B. Freeman

Language: English

Binding: Paperback

Pages: 480

Publisher: Picador

Publication Date: 2019-09-10


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