“Illuminating and well-written. . . . Deserves a place in the highest ranks of Civil War scholarship.” —The Cleveland Plain Dealer
In November 1860, telegraph lines carried the news that Abraham Lincoln had been elected president. Over the next five months the United States drifted, stumbled, and finally plunged into the most destructive war this country has ever faced. With a masterful eye for the telling detail, Maury Klein provides fascinating new insights into the period from the election of Abraham Lincoln to the shelling of Fort Sumter.
Klein brings the key players in the tragedy unforgettably to life: from the vacillating lame-duck President Buchanan to the taciturn, elusive, and relatively unknown Abraham Lincoln; from Secretary of State Seward carrying on his own private negotiations with the South to Major Robert Anderson sitting in his island fortress awaiting reinforcements. Never has this immensely significant moment in our national story been so intelligently of so spellbindingly related.