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1864: Lincoln at the Gates of History

Overview

In a masterful narrative, historian and biographer Charles Bracelen Flood brings to life the drama of Lincoln's final year, in which he over-saw the last campaigns of the Civil War, was reelected as president, and laid out his majestic vision for the nation's future in a reunified South and in the expanding West.

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1864: Lincoln at the Gates of History

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Overview

In a masterful narrative, historian and biographer Charles Bracelen Flood brings to life the drama of Lincoln's final year, in which he over-saw the last campaigns of the Civil War, was reelected as president, and laid out his majestic vision for the nation's future in a reunified South and in the expanding West.

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Editorial Reviews

Janet Maslin
By focusing a book entirely on the tactical maneuvers that got Lincoln through 1864, the historian Charles Bracelen Flood makes a smart tactical choice of his own…Mr. Flood's 1864 compresses the multiple demands upon Lincoln into a tight time frame and thus captures a dizzying, visceral sense of why this single year took such a heavy toll.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
Starred Review.

Critically acclaimed historian Flood (Grant and Sherman: The Friendship that Won the Civil War) provides a brilliant, compelling account of Lincoln's dramatic final full year of life-a year in which the war finally turned in the Union's favor and Lincoln faced a tough battle for re-election. After Union defeats at the Battle of Cold Harbor and the siege of Petersburg, Confederate General Jubal Early came within five miles of Washington, D.C., before he was beaten back; General Sherman's September victory at Atlanta followed, with his bloody march to the sea. At the same time, Lincoln found himself running against his own secretary of the treasury, Salmon Chase, for the Republican nomination, and then against the Democrat (and general) George B. McClellan for the presidency. Lincoln won by a narrow popular majority, but a significant electoral majority. At the close of 1864, as Lincoln celebrated both his re-election and the coming end of the war, John Wilkes Booth laid down an ambitious plan for kidnapping that soon evolved into a map for murder. Combining a novelist's flair with the authority and deep knowledge of a scholar, Flood artfully integrates this complex web of storylines. 16 pages of b&w photos, maps.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Library Journal

As 1864 dawned and the Civil War dragged on, war weariness swept the North. President Lincoln was faced with the duel task of turning the war toward a Union victory and being reelected to the presidency. Flood, who has written many previous studies of aspects of the Civil War era (e.g., Grant and Sherman: The Friendship That Won the War), here turns to the personal and public story of Lincoln himself during his last full year of life. Drawing upon extensive primary and secondary sources, Flood weaves a compelling narrative of this brilliant, compassionate, but haunted leader as he deals with political rivals, military commanders, battlefield reverses, and his troubled personal life. Including as it does a mixture of military, social, and political history and many voices from the period, the tale is both engagingly spun and well documented. However, libraries that already have other recent, more rigorously focused books on these ultimate aspects of Lincoln's presidency, such as John Waugh's Reelecting Lincoln: The Battle for the 1864 Presidency, may choose to pass on this one. [See Prepub Alert, LJ10/15/08.]
—Theresa McDevitt

Kirkus Reviews
Historian Flood (Grant and Sherman, 2005, etc.) offers an inside view of the Lincoln White House during one of the most critical years of the Civil War, focusing on the president's battle for re-election. The author conveys the turmoil of a period when Lincoln spent almost as much time fighting his own Cabinet as his generals did fighting the Confederacy. Flood opens with the traditional White House New Year's Day reception, then follows all the major twists and turns of Lincoln's fortunes during the course of 1864. A key decision came in January, when McClellan was dropped from command. The general, who privately described Lincoln as "an idiot," became his Democratic opponent in the election. Meanwhile, Grant was transferred to the eastern front to apply new pressure to the still defiant South. The election and the war were inextricably bound; as the Union army's fortunes changed, so did Lincoln's prospects for returning to office. Both the Peace Democrats and the radical Republicans saw him as an enemy of their goals. Grant's first encounters with Lee's army led to long casualty lists, and Jubal Early's assault on Washington in July gave Lincoln reason to despair. By late summer, he was convinced the Democrats would oust him. But just before the election, Sherman's capture of Atlanta, backed by Sheridan's scourging of the Shenandoah Valley, gave Lincoln the boost he needed to win. Flood orchestrates the complex events of this roller-coaster year with a sure hand, taking plenty of time to look at individual dramas away from the main scene, such as the reporter who brought news of Grant's first Virginia battles to Washington but was nearly shot as a spy before Lincoln saved him. Theauthor does fair justice to all the astonishing events, closing with a poignant look ahead to the president's assassination and a letter from an admiring journalist wishing, "May God help you in the future as he has helped you in the past."Stirring history told in rich detail. Agent: John Taylor "Ike" Williams/Kneerim & Williams
From the Publisher
"The book is as adept at analyzing Lincoln's choices as at showing what they meant to his ravaged nation." —-The New York Times
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416552291
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: 2/16/2010
  • Pages: 521
  • Sales rank: 460,692
  • Product dimensions: 6.38 (w) x 9.26 (h) x 1.33 (d)

Meet the Author

Charles Bracelen Flood is the author of eleven previous books, including Grant and Sherman: The Friendship That Won the Civil War. He is a past president of PEN America Center and has served on the governing bodies of the Authors League and the Authors Guild. Flood and his wife, Katherine, live in Richmond, Kentucky.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 The Beleaguered Giant 1

Chapter 2 Steering into a Stormy Year 33

Chapter 3 Lincoln Juggles in the "Shop"; Grant Comes East 52

Chapter 4 On the Verge of the Great Collision 65

Chapter 5 Troubled Military and Political Campaigns 98

Chapter 6 Trimming the Political Tree 118

Chapter 7 "I Begin to See It"-The Elusive "It" 145

Chapter 8 A Pretty Place from Which to Drop into a Dark, Dramatic Summer 174

Chapter 9 Trying to Pick Up the Military and Political Pieces 208

Chapter 10 August: The Darkest Month 245

Chapter 11 Six Words from Sherman 279

Chapter 12 Sheridan Goes In; Lincoln Gets Out the Vote 291

Chapter 13 The Final Mile to the Polls: Rocks, Smooth Places, Puzzles 344

Chapter 14 The Forty-eight-Hour Election Day 362

Chapter 15 An Epic Year Begins Its Dramatic Close 379

Chapter 16 Lincoln's Last Christmas 410

Chapter 17 Goodbye, Mr. Lincoln 422

Notes 435

Bibliography 475

Acknowledgments 493

Index 499

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Not much new

    I have spent the year reading everything I could get my hands on about Abraham Lincoln. As the most popular subject(person) of all time to write about, I understand that it is tough to find new information on Lincoln. Concentrating on the last full year of his life was an interesting angle. If a person chooses this book to read, I am sure he or she would enjoy it. The writing is fluid and easy to read. The storytelling aspect is readable, but somewhat choppy.
    If a person were to choose one book to read about Abraham Lincoln, I would recommend Ron White's recently published biography.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    As well written as Team of Rivals

    1864 is an excellent work on Lincoln and the last year of the Civil War. The reader gets a more indepth view of Lincoln, the man, the president & the politician. This book isn't a glossy hero worshiping bio but a well researched and developed American history book. This work is one of those I'll keep on the bookshelf.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2012

    Softbreeze

    *she settled into a nest she had made. She tucked her kits in close* Pinekit: mommy... wheres daddy? Icekit: *jabs him in the ribs with her paw* pinekit! Mommy said not to talk about him! Snowkit: i was wondering too... Blazekit: stop depressing me guys... Sparklekit: how in starclan are u depresed?

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 23, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Engaging Look at Final Months of Lincoln's Presidency

    Flood's book presents many engaging stories of Lincoln's final year or so as president. The Lincoln stories abound in this volume. Many of them illustrate the character of man who found himself in one of those trying times as leader during difficulties. This book is a slow, plodding read, but in the end, it adds so much more to what we know about Lincoln.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2010

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