Customer Reviews for

1861: The Civil War Awakening

Average Rating 4
( 84 )
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5 Star

(40)

4 Star

(24)

3 Star

(11)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(5)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

20 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

A "different" kind of Civil War histroy, and an outstanding read

Not to be missed, and not your typical Civil War volume. Rather than focusing on detailed description of the early 1861 battles (although the surrender of Fort Sumter is given extensive coverage), this book is at its best when describing little known events and characte...
Not to be missed, and not your typical Civil War volume. Rather than focusing on detailed description of the early 1861 battles (although the surrender of Fort Sumter is given extensive coverage), this book is at its best when describing little known events and characters, and always in sparkling, descriptive prose. For example, a section on Elmer Ellsworth (one of the first conspicuous casualties of the war) and his fighting "Zouaves" is absolutely riveting and very entertaining.

I predict glowing critical reviews of this one, and indeed, Kirkus Reviews has already given it a starred rave. Highly recommended for Civil War fans and lovers of great writing.

posted by lrtbooks on April 1, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

This book should be named "1861 in New York"

I was very disappointed after reading this book. It the type of book that after the 100th page it gets very "One sided" The book is all about what went on in the Northern States, and nothing else. Not what i had hoped to read :( In short a very disappointing read. :(

posted by lucas21181 on March 17, 2012

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  • Posted April 1, 2011

    A "different" kind of Civil War histroy, and an outstanding read

    Not to be missed, and not your typical Civil War volume. Rather than focusing on detailed description of the early 1861 battles (although the surrender of Fort Sumter is given extensive coverage), this book is at its best when describing little known events and characters, and always in sparkling, descriptive prose. For example, a section on Elmer Ellsworth (one of the first conspicuous casualties of the war) and his fighting "Zouaves" is absolutely riveting and very entertaining.

    I predict glowing critical reviews of this one, and indeed, Kirkus Reviews has already given it a starred rave. Highly recommended for Civil War fans and lovers of great writing.

    20 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 14, 2011

    A Whole New 1861

    As a Civil War buff, I thought I knew all about 1861. I did not. This is an engagingly written, beautifully researched gripping account that takes you from December 20, 1860, the day South Carolina seceded, to the end of the fateful year that followed.

    9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2011

    a must read for civil war buffs

    Fascinating book, lots of stories I never knew. Written with humor and intelligence--really hard to put down.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 18, 2011

    Genealogy Research Gold

    While this book hasn't named my ancestors, it provides the background on the political climate of the times. One of the best books to tell of the times. It has given my research new energy and direction.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2012

    This book should be named "1861 in New York"

    I was very disappointed after reading this book. It the type of book that after the 100th page it gets very "One sided" The book is all about what went on in the Northern States, and nothing else. Not what i had hoped to read :( In short a very disappointing read. :(

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 10, 2011

    I would even read it again!

    Ignorance of a subject has never stopped me from expressing an opinion in the past, but here I speak with some (self-proclaimed) authority, having earned 2 degrees in American history many years ago and having slogged through much of the material I'm sure Mr. Goodheart had to endure in order to write this wonderful book. His narrative makes the complexity of time and place come alive with graceful, entertaining, engaging prose. One of the dirty little secrets about much 19th century source material is that it is ponderously written and often boring, despite the drama of thesubject matter. *1861* is anything but. Nor can today's historical purists gripe that *1861* is merely a popularized rehash; the reliance on original source material is prodigious and meticulous. If I could fault *1861* for any one thing, it would be that the narrative reads like it was written by someone with a mild case of ADD. By that I mean that instead of a linear tale, the story jumps around in place and time, so that it really helps to have a NOOK link to Google and Wikipedia, even though the actual time period covered barely gets you past First Manassas! Adam Goodheart is truly gifted. I hope that *1861* is just the first of many.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2011

    Civil War fan?

    If you are then get this book. A nice fresh perspective on this time period.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 23, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    A MUST READ.....BUY IT!!

    I had a great feeling about this book. And my gut was PERFECT! I really hope Adam Goodheart writes "1862"

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 6, 2011

    A good read if you like drama and detail

    I'm a Civil War aficionado (but not typically a non fiction reader), so when I heard about this book, I was REALLY excited. It did not disappoint!!

    The attention to detail is superb, and there are many things in the book that I was completely unaware of (like how beards were considered to be for the less fortunate until there was a movement towards "manliness").

    The author did a really good job of making you feel like you were living through the moments as they happened. I really like this book. I can't wait for 1862.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 9, 2011

    EXCELLENT!

    What a treat! First book I've read on the Civil War & I wasn't disappointed!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 16, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    The graphic tale of an extraordinary year

    In 1861: The Civil War Awakening author Adam Goodheart tells the story of this extraordinary year in America. This is not just a history of the start of the Civil War, it's more of a collection of gripping biographies of remarkable, yet little-known Americans at the start of the second American Revolution.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2011

    A must read for Civil War buffs

    This book is one of the most entertaining and enlightening books on the Civil War I have ever read. This is not a military history but rather a social history of a society dramatically coming to terms with issues it has avoided for decades. The author brings things into focus that students of the war will recognize, but not in the manner presented here. This is the first book that showed me why people would view John Brown as anything but a religious zealot. Adam Goodheart writes with the entertaining style, and historical detail that reminds me of Barbara Tuchman and Ted White. This book will be on everyone's year end top ten

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 8, 2011

    Great Book

    Should be required reading in any study of American History. Well done.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 26, 2011

    A civil war book with a difference!

    I have always been mystified about why this great country almost tore itself apart during the civil war. Much of the existing material is about the actual war and the skirmishes or tend to focus on Abraham Lincoln. Nothing wrong with that, however, there was always something missing. Adam Goodheart brings in the human angle and you almost feel like you are reliving the days leading upto the civil war.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 8, 2013

    Exceptional Historic Analysis

    This is one of the better history books I have read on the events that led to the US Civil War. I was fascinated with the detail. I do recommend this book to any serious student of US history in that era.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2013

    Not exactly what I expected...This book was good but I feel like

    Not exactly what I expected...This book was good but I feel like it was filled with a lot of unnecessary information, which honestly bored me. It's not so much a chronicle of the early parts of the war as it is a chronicle of different people's lives in the 1860s. Some chapter were exceptional; some were long and irrelevant, in my opinion.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2012

    If you thought you knew all there was to know...

    Highly readable; as much a cultural history as a political one. Our book group was amazed at the information we'd never learned in HS/College history class.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 30, 2012

    Highly Recommended

    a great book...one of the best in recent memory

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 19, 2012

    Highly Recommended

    Extremely well written and a cogent presentation of differing perspectives of opinions and allegiances that evolved in the year prior to the onset of war, this book brings out many , hitherto little or unknown facts about the opinions and the causes that broke down any chances of peaceful resolution of the slavery question. The role of German immigrants is only of the elements that are often omitted in most histories of that era.
    Indeed the whole course of the war turned"on a dime" with several key incidents described well in this easily read and hard to put down book. "1861" seemed an appropriate bookend to another great read, "April 1865" in that they both give fresh perpectives, little known facts, and some great portrayals of the great leaders of that era.
    The focus of this work is mostly from the pro-Union side, but nevertheless appeared reasonably objective even to this "unreconstructed" Southern historian and civil war "buff".

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 10, 2012

    Enlightening!

    A prize read for this Southerner ... An extraordinary account of why the Civil War started ... Especially enlightening for those who grew up being told the Civil War was not primarily about slavery ... Words that now appear slanted at best and more likely just wrong ... It makes me proud to be an American ...

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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