Ecstatic Nation; Confidence, Crisis, and Compromise, 1848-1877
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Ecstatic Nation; Confidence, Crisis, and Compromise, 1848-1877

3.92 (246 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

A New York Times Notable Book of 2013

A Kirkus Best Book of 2013

A Bookpage Best Book of 2013

Dazzling in scope, Ecstatic Nation illuminates one of the most dramatic and momentous chapters in America's past, when the country dreamed big, craved new lands and new freedom, and was bitterly divided over its great moral wrong: slavery.
 
With a canvas of extraordinary characters, such as P. T. Barnum, Walt Whitman, Frederick Douglass, and L. C. Q. Lamar, Ecstatic Nation brilliantly balances cultural and political history: It's a riveting account of the sectional conflict that preceded the Civil War, and it astutely chronicles the complex aftermath of that war and Reconstruction, including the promise that women would share in a new definition of American citizenship. It takes us from photographic surveys of the Sierra Nevadas to the discovery of gold in the South Dakota hills, and it signals the painful, thrilling birth of modern America.

An epic tale by award-winning author Brenda Wineapple, Ecstatic Nation lyrically and with true originality captures the optimism, the failures, and the tragic exuberance of a renewed Republic.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 722 pages
  • 153 x 230 x 46mm | 975g
  • HarperCollins
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0061234575
  • 9780061234576
  • 614,320

Back cover copy

For America, the mid-nineteenth century was an era of vast expectation and expansion: the country dreamed big, craved new lands, developed new technologies, and after too long a delay, finally confronted its greatest moral failure: slavery. Award-winning historian and literary critic Brenda Wineapple explores these feverish, ecstatic, conflicted years when Americans began to live within new and ever-widening borders, both spiritual and geographic; fought a devastating war over parallel ideals of freedom and justice; and transformed their country, at tragic cost, from a confederation into one nation, indivisible.

Populated by idiosyncratic, unforgettable characters such as P. T. Barnum, Walt Whitman, George Armstrong Custer, Horace Greeley, and Jefferson Davis, Ecstatic Nation moves from the vehement debates about slavery through the devastations of the Civil War and its aftermath. It explores the terrible complexities of Reconstruction and the fledgling hope that women would share equally in a new definition of American citizenship, and it traces the lust for land and the lure of its beauty from a frenzied rush to riches to the displacement of Indians. And it looks forward--toward the promise of a more perfect Union for all.

A masterful synthesis of political, cultural, and intellectual history, breathtaking in sweep and scope, Ecstatic Nation is a spellbinding tale of America--its glory and greed, its aspirations and humiliations--in this exhilarating and momentous period.
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Review quote

Wineapple s history creatively quavers with the tensions of the transformative times. --"Booklist""
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Rating details

246 ratings
3.92 out of 5 stars
5 26% (63)
4 48% (117)
3 23% (56)
2 2% (5)
1 2% (5)
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