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Download America Aflame: How the Civil War Created a Nation Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample America Aflame: How the Civil War Created a Nation, by David Goldfield Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (119 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: David Goldfield Narrator: David Drummond Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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In this spellbinding new history, David Goldfield offers the first major new interpretation of the Civil War era since James M. McPherson’s Battle Cry of Freedom. Where past scholars have interpreted the war as a triumph of freedom, Goldfield sees it as America’s greatest failure: the result of a breakdown caused by the infusion of evangelical religion into the public sphere. As the Second Great Awakening surged through America, political questions became matters of good and evil to be fought to the death.

The price of that failure was horrific, but the carnage accomplished what statesmen could not: it made the United States one nation and eliminated slavery as a divisive force in the Union. The victorious North became synonymous with America as a land of innovation and industrialization, whose teeming cities offered squalor and opportunity in equal measure. Religion was supplanted by science and a gospel of progress, and the South was left behind.

Goldfield’s panoramic narrative, sweeping from the 1840s to the end of Reconstruction, is studded with memorable details and luminaries such as Harriet Beecher Stowe, Frederick Douglass, and Walt Whitman. There are lesser known yet equally compelling characters too, including Carl Schurz—a German immigrant, war hero, and post-war reformer—and Alexander Stephens, the urbane and intellectual vice president of the Confederacy. America Aflame is a vivid portrait of the “fiery trial” that transformed the country we live in.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Sweeping, provocative…he presents a superb, stylishly written historical synthesis that insightfully foregrounds ideology, faith, and public mood…The result is an ambitious, engrossing interpretation with new things to say about a much-studied conflagration.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Ian Henzel | 2/11/2014

    " Excellent analysis of the period of American history from before the Civil War through reconstruction. Unique was the look at the role rising evangelical Christianity played in the North before the war, and how it fed the anti-slavery movement, and then how it shifted after the war to the South and kept them from moving forward. For me, it helped to provide insight into how the US developed socially and how we got to where we are today. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Charles Kristofek | 2/6/2014

    " Portions were very enlightening. The ugly southern mentality is well documented and sounds a lot like the tea party mentality today. The failure of reconstruction due to the southern insurgency (much like Muslim countries of the 21st century) and the mis-application of Darwin's theory of evolution to justify racism was detailed nicely. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Joe Marshall | 1/3/2014

    " Good summary of the events and ideas that lead to the Civil War, the War, and the aftermath. Lots of parallels to now worth noting. If you're interested in current political events read this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Jan Underhill | 12/26/2013

    " Dense and absorbing, this account of the Civil War brought the events and issues to life for me. "

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About the Author

David Goldfield is the Robert Lee Bailey professor of history at the University of North Carolina–Charlotte. A native of Memphis, Tennessee, he grew up in Brooklyn, New York, and attended the University of Maryland. He is the author of many works and textbooks on Southern American history, including Still Fighting the Civil War; Southern Histories; Black, White, and Southern; and Promised Land.