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Posted May 31, 2011
Petersen's book develops the thesis that William Clarke Quantrill's and the Missouri guerrillas' attack on Lawrence were motivated by scores of heinous and violent acts in Missouri by Kansans leading up to the reprisal raid made on that town in 1863. Petersen has undoubtedly written the most thorough accounting of the raid and the Kansas provocations that brought it about in the literature of the Civil War. Civil War histories, because of their natural controversial nature, should sort out the times they describe and give both opponents a fair shake. Some would-be historians fail to do this because they are so caught up in their own personal animus. Petersen succeeds and we can all profit from that success.
Donald L. Gilmore
Author, Civil War on the Missouri-Kansas Border"; "Revenge in Kansas, 1863," History Today, 1993; and "Total War on the Missouri-Kansas Border," a prize-winning article in Journal of the West, 1996.
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Posted June 14, 2011
Mr. Petersen has succeeded in his quest to demonstrate that the Lawrence raid on August 21, 1863, was a brilliantly planned, flawlessly executed military action taken against the headquarters of his enemy, which targeted and eliminated Union soldiers and Militia members, instead of the brutal and unjustified massacre of innocent non-combatants that some have unjustly accused him of committing.
Mr. Petersen begins his book by relating the sad and bitter tale of "the straw that broke the camel's back," the murder of five female relatives of the guerrillas, which occurred after the jail where they were confined was deliberately undermined by guards who were members of the 9th Kansas Calvary. This isn't Mr. Petersen's theory; rather it is the reason that was documented in the numerous books and manuscripts written by the surviving guerrillas after the war. Next Petersen chronicles the illegalities and atrocities inflicted upon the Missourians from the theft of as much as $20,000 worth of goods that Lawrence shipped west and absorbed every week, to the sacking of Osceola Missouri on September 23, 1861. That town of 3,000 people was plundered and burned to the ground, and nine local citizens were executed, women were raped, and the slaves were "liberated" only to become the property of the Jayhawking horde led by the main target of the Lawrence raid, the "Grim Chieftain" James Lane. Mr. Petersen masterfully introduces the key players on both sides, while chronicling their actions leading up to the raid.
After building tension to a fever pitch, he masterfully places the readers in the saddle on the day of the raid, painting a vivid and complex painting of the sights and sounds of the raid, including accounts from both victims and the raiders. He shares with the reader that Quantrill supplied his followers with maps and a "Death List," and that the names on these list came as no surprise to anyone. It included members of the military companies associated with the New England Emigrant Aid Society. Others on the list were known abolitionists, operators of the Underground Railroad, who had stolen Missouri slaves, extremely expensive property in those days; newspapermen, who called for the invasion and rape of Missouri and the assassination of its citizens; and, of course, members of the Federal army or Kansas militia residing within Lawrence. Contrary to rumors that persist to this day no women or children were killed or molested.
Petersen also shares a tale of the aftermath of the raid, including the infamous General Orders Number 11, an atrocity that led to the dispossession of 20,000 civilians, who were forced to leave five Missouri counties, which became desolate and devoid of life. Displaying his unique, award-winning style, Mr. Petersen's book is meticulously researched, as demonstrated by thirty-five pages of references that include scores of newspaper accounts and military and governmental records.
Mr. Petersen has proven what the guerrillas and their relatives and supporters have known from the first: Colonel William Clarke Quantrill was an extremely successful and innovative military strategist, tactician, and a respected leader of men.
The book Quantrill at Lawrence is the best work on Quantrill at Lawrence and his involvement in the Missouri-Kansas border war it is the best researched, most even- handed, utterly enjoyable presentation ever written on the subject.
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Posted June 14, 2011
Mr. Paul Peterson's book on "Quantrill at Lawrence" happens to be the very best book ever written on the the daylight rain in Lawrence, Kansas. For the very first time, you will learn why the raid was planned and carried out. You will learn those men on Quantrill's "death list," and who they were by name. Bill Anderson's personal "death list." The words "death list" are not plesant words, but once you understand why there were such lists, you will fully understand why this raid HAD to take place. Peterson takes you through that morning step by step, like no one has in the past. Mr. Peterson's research is simply outstanding. He takes you there and makes you feel it. Feel what the guerrilla's under Quantrill must have felt. Quantrill was a powerful leader. His men were told not to harm women or children. Over 400 of his men kept the promise that day. The record shows this is true, and not like the killing raids James Lane, and Doc Jennison made into Missouri prior, and during the Civil War. That is leadership. After you read this book, you will also find something out about its amazing author, Paul R. Peterson. Paul is a former master sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps. He served in Vietnam, Desert Storm, and Operation Iraqi Freedom. A real American who finally tells the story about the TRUE reason Quantrill and his loyal guerrilla's sacked the city of Lawrence, Kansas. This Peterson's 3rd hardback book in a series on Quantrill. Make sure you get the other two books too.
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