Ecstatic Nation: Confidence, Crisis, and Compromise, 1848-1877by Brenda Wineapple
A New York Times Notable Book of 2013
A Kirkus Best Book of 2013
A Bookpage Best Book of 2013
Dazzling in scope, Ecstatic Nation illuminates one of the most dramatic and momentous chapters in America's past, when the country dreamed big, craved new lands and/em>/p>/strong>/em>/p>/strong>/em>/p>/strong>/em>
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I found the book to be mistitled and disappointing. Far from being ecstatic, by the end of the book, if not long before, the substance of events portrayed are discouraging. Moreover, Wineapple went off on tangents that frequently leave the reader wondering "what's her point/" The vignettes she included might have been illustrative of some underlying theme or issue. However, more often than not they stood isolated unto themselves. Perhaps the book was conceived to contextualize the Civil War by describing the events preceding and following the war. If so, the connections among events are not drawn tightly enough to make this obvious. By the end, my view of the book was unecstatic. A disappointed reader.