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The Field of Blood: Violence in Congress and the Road to Civil War
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The Field of Blood: Violence in Congress and the Road to Civil War

4.2  ·  Rating details ·  64 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
The previously untold story of the violence in Congress that helped spark the Civil War

In The Field of Blood, Joanne Freeman recovers the long-lost story of physical violence on the floor of the U.S. Congress. Drawing on an extraordinary range of sources, Freeman shows that the Capitol was rife with conflict in the decades before the Civil War. Legislative sessions often w
Hardcover, 480 pages
Published September 11th 2018 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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Bill  Kerwin
Oct 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, politics

I watched every minute of the Kavanaugh hearings, appalled at the procedural bullying of the Republicans, the cries of anguish from the female protestors, and I said to myself: could the atmosphere in Congress ever have been worse than this? It was then that I remembered my history, how—sometime in the late 1850’s--an abolitionist U.S. senator was caned by a Southern member of the House, beaten within an inch of his life on the Senate floor itself!

If you read Joanne B. Freeman’s excellent histor
Anne Morgan
Aug 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Joanne B. Freeman's The Field of Blood: Violence in Congress and the Road to Civil War is an entertaining, well researched, and well-written examination of physical violence in U.S. Congress in the decades leading to the Civil War. Most of it stems from diarist B.B. French, who managed to be on hand or on the fringes for every major political and historical event of his lifetime. A New Hampshire native, French was highly active in D.C. politics, knew politicians and presidents, and often had a r ...more
Sep 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
First I would like to state that I received this book through the Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. I would like to thank the author for giving me this opportunity and honor in being able to read this book. When I received this book I began reading it at once. I really enjoy the authors writing style, the author pulls you into the book from the very beginning and makes it so you don't want to put the book down. It kept me on the edge of my seat reading from cover to cover. Thi ...more
Michael Webb
Oct 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
For a record of the activities of Congress in the period before and leading up to the Civil War, this succeeds in being a breezy and engaging read without sacrificing scholarship along the way.

Freeman's contention is that the road to the Civil War was paved with sectional strife that was manifested most clearly in Congressional interactions, primarily in the House. While most of the surviving documentation excises it, Freeman contends, and has convincing evidence, that the House was a place of
Stephen Morrissey
Oct 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Joanne Freeman delivers a sweeping, vivid, and colorful history of the bruised and bloody days of the antebellum Congress, stretching from the Jackson years through the firing on Fort Sumter. Relayed through the diary entries and musings, sometimes poetic, of B.B. French, this narrative tells of the brutish and nasty personal politics that infected the Capitol before war broke out at Bull Run, Antietam, and Gettysburg.

While many Americans are familiar with the caning of Senator Charles Sumner by
Casey Wheeler
I received a free Kindle copy of The Field of Blood by Joanne B. Freeman courtesy of Net Galley  and Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, the publisher. It was with the understanding that I would post a review on Net Galley, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and my fiction book review blog. I also posted it to my Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus pages.

I requested this book as I am an avid reader of american history and the description sounded very interesting. This is the first book by Joann
Sep 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley, politics
I received an ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Thorough and quite informative on the duress and violence in Congress leading up to the Civil War. This book goes much more in depth about the divisiveness in the country. Several of these incidents will be eye-opening, even for the most robust historians. This is a must read for anyone with an interest in US history or politics. Furthermore, the timeliness for this book and our current political climate could not be
Trashy Dreams
Oct 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
More interesting than entertaining, if that makes sense. I think I was hoping for a ____ vs.____ kind of thing. Instead, it was a pretty straightforward, chronological take, based mostly on French's writings and observations of congress. Overall, still a great insight into a part of history that never really gets any kind of direct attention.
Oct 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
A thorough examination of the threats and acts of violence by congressmen in the decades leading up to the civil war. I was impressed by the author's ability to find the historical records detailing these events, especially when so many lawmakers tried to hide, downplay, or rewrite them. Only four stars because the book was very repetitive when discussing the motives behind the violence.
Jessica Jackson
Sep 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
As a public historian/tour guide at the US Capitol, I will cherish this incredibly well-researched book as new foundation stone in my effort to educate the public about the tumultuous history of Congress.
Scott Lord
Sep 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating prelude to the Civil War

Reading the prelude to the war through the lens of the Congress was very insightful. The bullying and stifling of free speech in congress is not something taught in school. Congress was a reflection of the nation as a whole. Well written
Sep 28, 2018 rated it liked it
This book was more a biography of B.B. French than it was about fighting in Congress. At times the narrative seemed redundant and a bit pedantic. A good starting place for someone just getting into the Civil War era, but not terribly interesting to someone well versed in Civil War lore.
Jack Goodstein
Sep 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: history
Filled with references to less than well known figures, so that it is difficult to keep them all straight.
Sep 29, 2018 rated it it was ok
Nonfiction of the violence in congress before the Civil War. Dry story but interesting facts.
Jim Ogle
Sep 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Well researched and well told story. How directly violent our politics were leading up to the Civil War.
Amber Machado
Aug 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved it! Everything is shown from different perspectives and i learned a lot. However, i do not believe i will ever look at chewing tobacco the same lol
Brandon Behlke
Sep 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great read and fascinating insight on a forgotten man and a forgotten era in congressional politics.
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Aug 18, 2018
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