A comprehensive analysis of the crisis of popular government during the Civil War and Reconstruction eras from a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize
In Liberty and Union, David Herbert Donald persuasively examines one of the most tumultuous periods in American history. With the same wit, eloquence, and willingness to question received wisdom that define his acclaimed biographies of Abraham Lincoln and Charles Sumner, Donald suggests that it was the commonalities between North and South—and not their differences—that led to the earth-shattering conflict that was the Civil War and defined the chaotic years that followed.
Exploring the political, social, and economic impact of the war, emancipation, Reconstruction, and westward expansion, Donald combines history and philosophy, offering a bold and thought-provoking analysis that goes far in explaining the nation we live in today. Riveting, illuminating, and provocative, Liberty and Union sheds a brilliant light on a half-century of US history and addresses a perennial problem of democratic societies all over the world: how to reconcile majority rule and minority rights.
“Donald’s mastery of United States history throughout the nineteenth century, combined with his creative and original perspectives, has produced a work which is not only enlightening and interesting, but important as well.” —New England Quarterly
Praise for David Herbert Donald
“Mr. Donald is a rarity among American historical biographers, being not merely a man of irreproachable scholarship and balance but an interesting writer.” —The New Yorker
“Donald writes with lucidity and elegance.” —James M. McPherson
“Few books can be recommended wholeheartedly to the specialist and the general reader alike. [Charles Sumner and the Coming of the Civil War] can.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Lincoln immediately takes its place among the best of the genre, and it is unlikely that it will be surpassed in elegance, incisiveness and originality. . . . A book of tenacity, interpretive boldness and almost acrobatic balance.” —Harold Holzer, Chicago Tribune David Herbert Donald (1920–2009) was an American historian and the author of many books on the Civil War era, including Lincoln (1995), a New York Times bestseller widely regarded as the definitive biography of the US president. Donald twice won the Pulitzer Prize, for Charles Sumner and the Coming of the Civil War (1960) and Look Homeward: A Life of Thomas Wolfe (1987), and served as the Charles Warren Professor of American History at Harvard University. His other notable works include the influential essay collection Lincoln Reconsidered (1956); Charles Sumner and the Rights of Man (1970), the second volume in his acclaimed biography of the antislavery statesman; and Liberty and Union (1978), a comprehensive analysis of the American scene from 1845 to 1890.
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