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Extended Audio Sample The Cause of All Nations: An International History of the American Civil War, by Don H. Doyle Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Don H. Doyle Narrator: Adam Grupper Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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When Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address in 1863, he had broader aims than simply rallying a war-weary nation. Lincoln realized that the Civil War had taken on a wider significance—that all of Europe and Latin America was watching to see whether the United States, a beleaguered model of democracy, would indeed “perish from the earth.”

In The Cause of All Nations, distinguished historian Don H. Doyle explains that the Civil War was viewed abroad as part of a much larger struggle for democracy that spanned the Atlantic Ocean and had begun with the American and French Revolutions. While battles raged at Bull Run, Antietam, and Gettysburg, a parallel contest took place abroad, both in the marbled courts of power and in the public square. Foreign observers held widely divergent views on the war—from radicals such as Karl Marx and Giuseppe Garibaldi who called on the North to fight for liberty and equality, to aristocratic monarchists, who hoped that the collapse of the Union would strike a death blow against democratic movements on both sides of the Atlantic. Nowhere were these monarchist dreams more ominous than in Mexico, where Napoleon III sought to implement his Grand Design for a Latin Catholic empire that would thwart the spread of Anglo-Saxon democracy and use the Confederacy as a buffer state.

Hoping to capitalize on public sympathies abroad, both the Union and the Confederacy sent diplomats and special agents overseas: the South to seek recognition and support, and the North to keep European powers from interfering. Confederate agents appealed to those conservative elements who wanted the South to serve as a bulwark against radical egalitarianism. Lincoln and his Union agents overseas learned to appeal to many foreigners by embracing emancipation and casting the Union as the embattled defender of universal republican ideals, the “last best hope of earth.”

A bold account of the international dimensions of America’s defining conflict, The Cause of All Nations frames the Civil War as a pivotal moment in a global struggle that would decide the survival of democracy.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Doyle goes beyond conventional diplomatic history to shed much new light on what he calls history’s first ‘deliberate, sustained, state-sponsored’ campaign to shape foreign public opinion.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “Enlightening and compellingly written…More than any previous study, it tells the story of how America’s civil war was perceived, debated, and reacted to abroad and how that reaction shaped the course of the war at home.”

    Economist

  • “A major contribution to the history of the American Civil War…A timely reminder of the benefits of looking outwards, to Europe and the world at large.”

    Times Literary Supplement (London)

  • “A lively and entertaining new history….For Civil War buffs, reading the book is like arriving at your favorite restaurant from the street you never take; you know exactly where you are, but nothing looks quite the same from this angle…[Doyle] similarly succeeds in telling a story that is both familiar and wholly original.”

    Chicago Tribune

  • “Doyle has written the definitive transnational account of the American Civil War and at the same time has given much food for thought to both American historians and historians of nineteenth-century Europe on a myriad of possibilities for further exploration of the connections and comparisons between the 1860s Old and New Worlds.”

    Civil War Book Review

  • “Provides some novel insights about this most chronicled of conflicts…. An important—even necessary—addition to the groaning shelves of Civil War volumes.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “Adam Grupper’s expressive voice and energetic delivery work well for this account of the political battle that waged between the Federal and Confederate governments during the Civil War…His delivery is clear, and…he ably reads foreign phrases (mostly French). Overall, this production is a good match of text and voice.”

    AudioFile

  • One of Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2014 in Nonfiction
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About the Author

Don H. Doyle is the McCausland professor of history at the University of South Carolina and the author of several books, including Faulkner’s County and Nations Divided.