Reveille in Washington: 1860-1885

Reveille in Washington: 1860-1885

Paperback New York Review Books Classics

By (author) Margaret Leech, Introduction by James M. McPherson

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  • Publisher: NYRB Classics
  • Format: Paperback | 624 pages
  • Dimensions: 135mm x 203mm x 36mm | 703g
  • Publication date: 13 September 2011
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 1590174461
  • ISBN 13: 9781590174463
  • Sales rank: 702,415

Product description

1860: The American capital is sprawling, fractured, squalid, colored by patriotism and treason, and deeply divided along the political lines that will soon embroil the nation in bloody conflict. Chaotic and corrupt, the young city is populated by bellicose Congressmen, Confederate conspirators, eager regiments, and enterprising prostitutes. Soldiers of a volunteer army swing from the dome of the Capitol, assassins stalk the avenues, and Abraham Lincoln struggles to justify his presidency as the Union heads to war.Reveille in Washington: 1860-1865 focuses on the everyday politics, gossip, and preoccupations of Washington during the Civil War. Forgoing the battlefields, Leech looks at extravagant dinner parties, saloon backrooms, makeshift barracks, and White House halls to illustrate the social and political undercurrents of these pivotal years. From the stench of corpse-littered streets to the plunging lace on Mary Lincoln's evening gowns, Washington and its familiar figures-among them Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, William Seward, Rose Greenhow and Walt Whitman -are illuminated in intimate and unforgiving detail. It remains widely recognized as both an impressive feat of scholarship and an uncommonly engrossing work of history.

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Author information

Margaret Leech (1893-1974) was an American historian, novelist and dramatist. She twice received the Pulitzer Prize in history, for Reveille in Washington (1952) and In the Days of McKinley (1960); with the former she became the first woman to receive a Pulitzer in that category. JAMES M. MCPHERSON, professor emeritus at Princeton University, is the author of Battle Cry of Freedom (winner of the Pulitzer Prize); Hallowed Ground; Crossroads of Freedom: Antietam; and many more best-selling and critically acclaimed books on the Civil War.

Review quote

"This teeming Washington, described in all its wonderful, eccentric detail, provides the perspective from which Leech examines the overall pursuit of the war, among whose elements were the ineptness, intransigence, and obstructive jealousies of many of the Union generals.... This is a character-driven history and a chronicle of a city, but it is, also, a deft review of military strategy and of political maneuvering between and within political parties. It is, too, a fast-paced account of the developing exigencies that resulted in, among other things, the suspension of habeas corpus, the levying of income tax, conscription, and, most momentously, in the emancipation of slaves, first in Washington and then universally. "--Katherine Powers, "B&N Review" "In 1860, Washington was a raw country town, a symbol trying to be a city. By 1865 it had become the nation's capital. "Reveille in Washington" is packed and running over with the anecdotes, scandals, personalities, and tragi-comedi