United States History 1800-1900
Featured Items
Mr. Jefferson's Lost Cause: Land, Farmers, Slavery, and the Louisiana Purchase
Mr. Jefferson's Lost Cause
Land, Farmers, Slavery, and the Louisiana Purchase
Hardcover      ISBN: 0195153472

Thomas Jefferson advocated a republic of small farmers--free and independent yeomen. And yet as president he presided over a massive expansion of the slaveholding plantation system--particularly with the Louisiana Purchase--squeezing the yeomanry to the fringes and to less desirable farmland. Now Roger Kennedy conducts an eye-opening examination of that gap between Jefferson's stated aspirations and what actually happened.
Kennedy reveals how the Louisiana Purchase had a major impact on land use and the growth of slavery. He examines the great financial interests (such as the powerful land companies that speculated in new territories and the British textile interests) that beat down slavery's many opponents in the South itself (Native Americans, African Americans, Appalachian farmers, and conscientious opponents of slavery). He describes how slaveholders' cash crops (first tobacco, then cotton) sickened the soil and how the planters moved from one desolated tract to the next. Soon the dominant culture of the entire region--from Maryland to Florida, from Carolina to Texas--was that of owners and slaves producing staple crops for international markets. The earth itself was impoverished, in many places beyond redemption.
None of this, Kennedy argues, was inevitable. He focuses on the character, ideas, and ambitions of Thomas Jefferson to show how he and other Southerners struggled with the moral dilemmas presented by the presence of Indian farmers on land they coveted, by the enslavement of their workforce, by the betrayal of their stated hopes, and by the manifest damage being done to the earth itself. Jefferson emerges as a tragic figure in a tragic period.

Good Time Girls of the Alaska-Yukon Gold Rush: Secret History of the Far North
Good Time Girls of the Alaska-Yukon Gold Rush
Secret History of the Far North
Paperback      ISBN: 0945397763

In the boomtowns of the Alaska-Yukon stampedes, where gold dust was common currency, the rarest commodity was an attractive woman, and her company could be costly. Author Lael Morgan takes you into the heart of the gold rush demimonde, that "half world" of prostitutes, dance hall girls, and entertainers who lived on the outskirts of polite society. Meet "Dutch Kate" Wilson, who pioneered many areas long before the "respectable" women who received credit for getting there first ... ruthless heartbreakers Cad Wilson and Rose Blumkin ... "French" Marie Larose, who auctioned herself off as a wife to the highest bidder, Georgia Lee, who invested her earnings wisely and became one of the richest women in the North, and Edith Neile, called "the Oregon Mare," famous for both her outlandish behavior and her softhearted generosity.

The Civil War: An Illustrated History
The Civil War
An Illustrated History
1st Edition    Hardcover      ISBN: 0394562852

The companion volume to the celebrated PBS television series, with a new preface to mark its twenty-fifth anniversary

With more than 500 illustrations: rare Civil War photographs--many never before published--as well as paintings, lithographs, and maps reproduced in full color

It was the greatest war in American history. It was waged in 10,000 places--from Valverde, New Mexico, and Tullahoma, Tennessee, to St. Albans, Vermont, and Fernandina on the Florida coast. More than 3 million Americans fought in it and more than 600,000 men died in it. Not only the immensity of the cataclysm but the new weapons, the new standards of generalship, and the new strategies of destruction--together with the birth of photography--were to make the Civil War an event present ever since in the American consciousness. Thousands of books have been written about it. Yet there has never been a history of the Civil War quite like this one.

A wealth of documentary illustrations and a narrative alive with original and energetic scholarship combine to present both the grand sweep of events and the minutest of human details. Here are the crucial events of the war: the firing of the first shots at Fort Sumter; the battles of Shiloh, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg; the siege of Vicksburg; Sherman's dramatic march to the sea; the surrender at Appomattox. Here are the superb portraits of the key figures: Abraham Lincoln, claiming for the presidency almost autocratic power in order to preserve the Union; the austere Jefferson Davis, whose government disappeared almost before it could be formed; Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant, seasoned generals of fierce brilliance and reckless determination. Here is the America in which the war was fought: The Civil War is not simply the story of great battles and great generals; it is also an elaborate portrait of the American people--individuals and families, northerners and southerners, soldiers and civilians, slaves and slaveowners, rich and poor, urban and rural--caught up in the turbulence of the times.

An additional resonance is provided by four essays, the work of prominent Civil War historians. Don E. Fehrenbacher discusses the causes of the war; Barbara J. Fields writes about emancipation; James M. McPherson looks at the politics of the 1864 election; C. Vann Woodward speculates on how the war has affected the American identity. And Shelby Foote talks to filmmaker Ken Burns about wartime life on the battlefield and at home.

A magnificent book. In its visual power, its meticulous research, its textual brilliance, and the humanity of its narrative, The Civil War will stand among the most illuminating and memorable portrayals of the American past.
William Cooper's Town: Power and Persuasion on the Frontier of the Early American Republic
William Cooper's Town
Power and Persuasion on the Frontier of the Early American Republic
Paperback      ISBN: 0679773002

William Cooper and James Fenimore Cooper, a father and son who embodied the contradictions that divided America in the early years of the Republic, are brought to life in this Pulitzer Prize-winning book.

William Cooper rose from humble origins to become a wealthy land speculator and U.S. congressman in what had until lately been the wilderness of upstate New York, but his high-handed style of governing resulted in his fall from power and political disgrace. His son James Fenimore Cooper became one of this country's first popular novelists with a book, The Pioneers, that tried to come to terms with his father's failure and imaginatively reclaim the estate he had lost.

In William Cooper's Town, Alan Taylor dramatizes the class between gentility and democracy that was one of the principal consequences of the American Revolution, a struggle that was waged both at the polls and on the pages of our national literature. Taylor shows how Americans resolved their revolution through the creation of new social reforms and new stories that evolved with the expansion of our frontier.
April 1865: The Month That Saved America
April 1865
The Month That Saved America
1st Edition    Hardcover      ISBN: 0060187239

April 1865 was a month that could have unraveled the nation. Instead, it saved it. Here Jay Winik offers a brilliant new look at the Civil War's final days that will forever change the way we see the war's end and the nation's new beginning. Uniquely set within the larger sweep of history, filled with rich profiles of outsize figures, fresh iconoclastic scholarship, and a gripping narrative, this is a masterful account of the thirty most pivotal days in the life of the United States.

It was not inevitable that the Civil War would end as it did, or that it would end at all well. Indeed, it almost didn't. Time and again, critical moments could have plunged the nation back into war or fashioned a far harsher, more violent, and volatile peace. Now, in a superbly told story, Winik captures the epic images and extraordinary history as never before. This one month witnessed the frenzied fall of Richmond; a daring last-ditch Southern plan for guerrilla warfare; Lee's harrowing retreat; and then Appomattox. It saw Lincoln's assassination just five days later, and a near-successful plot to decapitate the Union government, followed by chaos and coup fears in the North, collapsed negotiations and continued bloodshed in the South, and finally, the start of national reconciliation. In the end, April 1865 emerges as not just the tale of the war's denouement, but the story of the making of our nation.

Provocative, bold, exquisitely rendered, and stunningly original, April 1865 is the first major reassessment of the Civil War's close and is destined to become one of the great stories of American history.

The Education of Henry Adams: An Autobiography
The Education of Henry Adams
An Autobiography
Paperback      ISBN: 067964010x
Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best nonfiction books of all time

'I cannot remember when I was not fascinated by Henry Adams, ' said Gore Vidal. 'He was remarkably prescient about the coming horrors.'

His political ideals shaped by two presidential ancestors--great-grandfather John Adams and grandfather John Quincy Adams--Henry Adams was one of the most powerful and original minds to confront the American scene from the Civil War to the First World War.

Printed privately in 1907 and published to wide acclaim shortly after the author&'s death in 1918, The Education of Henry Adams is a brilliant, idiosyncratic blend of autobiography and history that charts the great transformation in American life during the so-called Gilded Age.

With an introduction by renowned historian Edmund Morris.
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave
Paperback      ISBN: 014039012x

Details the life of the internationally famous abolitionist Frederick Douglass, from his birth into slavery in 1818 to his escape to the North in 1838 - how he endured the daily physical and spiritual brutalities of his owners and drivers, how he learned to read and write, and how he grew into a man who could only live free or die.

Landscape Turned Red: The Battle of Antietam
Landscape Turned Red
The Battle of Antietam
1st Edition    Paperback      ISBN: 0618344195

Combining brilliant military analysis with rich narrative history, Landscape Turned Red is the definitive work on the Battle of Antietam.

The Civil War battle waged on September 17, 1862, at Antietam Creek, Maryland, was one of the bloodiest in the nation's history: on this single day, the war claimed nearly 23,000 casualties. Here renowned historian Stephen Sears draws on a remarkable cache of diaries, dispatches, and letters to recreate the vivid drama of Antietam as experienced not only by its leaders but also by its soldiers, both Union and Confederate, to produce what the New York Times Book Review has called the best account of the Battle of Antietam.

The Civil War: The Complete Text of the Bestselling Narrative History of the Civil War--Based on the Celebrated PBS Television Series
The Civil War
The Complete Text of the Bestselling Narrative History of the Civil War--Based on the Celebrated PBS Television Series
Paperback      ISBN: 0679755438

The Civil War defined us as what we are and it opened us to being what we became, good and bad things.... It was the crossroads of our being, and it was a hell of a crossroads: the suffering, the enormous tragedy of the whole thing.- Shelby Foote, from The Civil War

When the illustrated edition of The Civil War was first published, The New York Time hailed it as a treasure for the eye and mind. Now Geoffrey Ward's magisterial work of history is available in a text-only edition that interweaves the author's narrative with the voices of the men and women who lived through the cataclysmic trial of our nationhood: not just Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, and Robert E. Lee, but genteel Southern ladies and escaped slaves, cavalry officers and common foot soldiers who fought in Yankee blue and Rebel gray.

The Civil War also includes essays by our most distinguished historians of the era: Don E. Fehrenbacher, on the war's origins; Barbara J. Fields, on the freeing of the slaves; Shelby Foote, on the war's soldiers and commanders; James M. McPherson, on the political dimensions of the struggle; and C. Vann Woodward, assessing the America that emerged from the war's ashes.
Those Tremendous Mountains: The Story of the Lewis and Clark Expedition
Those Tremendous Mountains
The Story of the Lewis and Clark Expedition
Paperback      ISBN: 0393317749

In 1804 Lewis and Clark set off to explore the new lands of the Louisiana Purchase. They were acting as the eyes and ears of President Thomas Jefferson, who had an insatiable curiosity about what lay between the Mississippi and the Pacific. One contingency for which they were not prepared was the awesome geography of the Rocky Mountains. Including excerpts from Lewis and Clark's journals and putting their scientific achievements in context, David Hawke presents a riveting story of this dramatic journey.