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The Coming Fury: The Centennial History of the Civil War Series, Volume 1 (The Centennial History of the Civil War #1)

4.26  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,770 Ratings  ·  56 Reviews

The New York Times hails this trilogy as "one of the greatest historical accomplishments of our time." With stunning detail and insights, America's foremost Civil War historian recreates the war from its opening months to its final, bloody end. Each volume delivers a complete listening experience. The Coming Fury (Vol. 1): From the split Democratic Convention in the spring

MP3 Book, 0 pages
Published September 8th 2009 by Recorded Books, LLC (first published 1961)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Josh Liller
I read this book on recomendation from a Civil War group here on GoodReads, after asking for a book about the time immediately before the war.

This book covers 1860 and 1861, from the Democratic Party convention in Charleston that tries (and fails) to nominate a candidate for the presidency through Bull Run, the battle that solidified the idea that the war would be neither short nor easy.

This book was written in the 1960s; this is actually the first part of the Centenial history of the war and Ca
This volume details the build-up of tensions during 1860 and early 1861 that finally exploded into the Civil War in April. It also covers the early months of the war through the Battle of Bull Run in July of '61.

The opening scene tells the story of the contentious atmosphere of the Democratic National Convention in Charleston in April of 1860 that ended up without a nominee. Subsequently, the party split into separate factions, each holding a separate convention that nominated its own candidate
Kathy Stone
Aug 22, 2014 Kathy Stone rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: from-the-library
This is a great introduction to the issues that led to secession in 1861. Bruce Catton starts with the Democratic Convention in 1860 in Charleston, SC and end the the First Battle of Bull Run. It is interesting to note that the division of the Democratic party occurred from the beginning of the campaign season. The Republicans had not convened and the Democrats were not able to come to a consensus about who their own presidential nominee would be. The Southerners held their own convention and no ...more
Donna Davis

I was in the first grade when this was published, and so naturally I missed it at the time. My attention was drawn to it as one of the few secondary sources to be referenced more than once in McPherson's historical writing. I tracked it down at my favorite used book store last summer and brought home the whole trilogy.

The first big, beefy hardcover book is almost entirely devoted to the events that led up to the American Civil War. Those of us living in the US are so accustomed to a
Feb 09, 2016 Tom rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dare one say that this treasured history of events leading to the Civil War now seems...well...dated? Catton taught most of us "of an age" about the great American catastrophe of the 19th Century and was a fine teacher, indeed. Still, compared with the work of Shelby Foote which has a more modern tone, Catton's work does seem a bit cliched and oddly worded. That tiny whine noted, Catton remains as superb a historian as he seemed so many decades ago. A fine piece of scholarship neatly presented.
Jun 06, 2014 Kelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 19, 2016 Jeffrey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history-military
If you want to understand the roots of the Civil War (and be entertained in the process), read this book. It's as simple as that. Read it if you're interested in who Jefferson Davis and Abraham Lincoln were as people; how the Southern Democrats of 1860 sabotaged their own party to ensure they would lose the election; how the decision to start a bloody Civil War was the result of a buck passed down to the point where the final call was made by a local Charleston artillery commander; how Lincoln c ...more
Patrick Skelly
Jan 27, 2015 Patrick Skelly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Coming Fury is an excellent history of the antebellum period. This is not a battle volume; rather it is an astute political analysis. Catton provides excellent insight into the psychology of the period, which i have not found in any other period history. After reading the book, I understand far better the emotions and motivations of the principal actors of the day. I can also trace clear lineage (or at a minimum, parallels) to today's partisan gridlock. The stock phrase is that history repea ...more
Kyle Brown
May 02, 2014 Kyle Brown rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First book I've read of Mr. Catton's, although I've heard of him practically all my life. I can see why he was chosen to write the Centennial history of the War Between the States. His literary prose is well treated to the subject, but not without humor and all the while very capable of telling the story of the great coming calamity. And as any mark of a good historian, he doesn't sway the reader toward one side or the other but merely presents the facts as they lay and lets the characters prese ...more
well written, engaging and very informative, I'd recommend especially for political wonks as this is not really a breezy read but very detailed and specific about the events and times

learned alot about some incidents i knew relatively little about, such as the multiple democratic conventions, the long run-up to sumter attack with aborted attacks/threats/political maneuvering/conflicting and late orders, peaceful evacuation of texas

intriguing that catton seems to make douglas out as one of the be
Timothy Riley
The parallels between this time period and today are chilling. Catton writes about the turmoil following John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry to the first battle of Manassas (Bull Run). It details the process in which Americans fought each other because of greed and a lack of understanding of the other side. To be sure, slavery was THE reason for the civil war. Some doubters or southern apologists will consistently mention States Rights as the cause, but THE state right the south was so upset abo ...more
P.J. Sullivan
Aug 31, 2011 P.J. Sullivan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
This one is about the complex legal issues that led to the Civil War and to the most momentous decision in U. S. history: how should President Lincoln respond to the secessions and the seizures of federal property in the South? It raises many interesting questions, not the least of which is, did he make the right decision? Was the bloodbath worth it? If Lincoln had known the consequences, would he have made the same decision? If he had let the South go, would it have brought peace? How long woul ...more
Paul Cane
Apr 04, 2013 Paul Cane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"The Coming Fury" is book one in a series of three written for the centennial of the Civil War. It and its companion volumes, "The Terrible Swift Sword" and "Never Call Retreat" clearly served as source material for much of the popular literature and media produced about the Civil War since. The first volume provides a narrative of the events leading up to Fort Sumter, including the democratic and republican conventions, Lincoln's election and the secession of the Confederate states. Catton's na ...more
May 28, 2016 Ari rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rereading this after a few years. I'm still impressed how wonderfully the prose flows, how evocative the descriptions, and how sweeping the analysis.

Unusually among Civil War histories, Catton starts his narrative with the Democratic Party Convention of 1860: the Southern states walked out of the convention over slavery, splitting the party and -- implicitly -- committing themselves to walk out of the Union.

Opening Chapter 3, Catton describes how, in 1860, "every piece of the intricate machiner
Shellys♥ Journal
I loved this book. Despite having read about and studied the CW for a few years, I had never read a detailed account of the prewar activities - the presidential primaries and how this affected the coming war. Many, many little details included here and a throughly interesting read. Catton truly tells the story of it all. I love this series because he gives the details from both sides with a more neutral perspective than others writing the same material. I look forward to reading the next book in ...more
Jeremy Ross
Jul 15, 2012 Jeremy Ross rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

An education to say the least. Written in early 60's so sometimes heavy reading, and having an old copy, the font was small. Funny I thought I was so dang smart and knew about the civil war! I don't know jack! Cool to hear perspective of dr catton and views/research of late 50's/ early 60's. Book ends at first major battle- first manassas/ bull run. A confederate victory that taught the north that this wasn't gonna be a one day drop the plow kick confederate ass then return. No, this overhauled
Don Heiman
Jun 17, 2015 Don Heiman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bruce Catton's "The Coming Fury" published in 1961 is a centennial history of the beginning of the American Civil War. The book is exceptionally well written, captivating, and full of insight. It helped me better understand the interplay between slavery, state's rights, and cultural forces affected by technological change and democratic union versus self determination. It is a great read!
Feb 04, 2014 Sharon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, nonfiction
This book is the first of a three-volume set by Mr. Catton of the history of the Civil War. Mr. Catton is a very well-known historian and author of this time period and this first installment is a dilligent, workman-like history of the period leading up to the Southern secession and the firing upon Fort Sumter. The book is dry in places, but quite comprehensive.
Feb 07, 2015 Mary rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think I would have enjoyed this a lot more if I had been able to devote the time to it that it deserves. As it is, I had to read it in very piecemeal sections over three weeks, and by the end I just wasn't enjoying it as much anymore. However, when I did get a chance to read it, I loved the writing style, which makes you feel like you are reading a narrative rather than a dry piece of nonfiction. I also loved how Catton's stunningly detailed account allows readers to closely examine every fact ...more
Steven Miller
Mar 19, 2016 Steven Miller rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Great look at the events that led to the start of the Civil War. The Republican convention of 1860 in Chicago where Lincoln emerged as the presidential nominee must have been remarkably like what we are likely to see in 2016. I can't wait to read (listen to) the next two books in this trilogy.
Apr 15, 2011 Paul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: civil-war
this is part 1 of 3 in series.

loved this book. very well paced and i appreciated the attention paid by catton to fort pickens in pensacola. the way he analyzed its fate relative to sumter was a nice touch. catton has a way of analyzing broadly, yet clearly, the political and regional mood swings throughout the south leading up to its complete secession that i think lays a solid foundation for anyone trying to get a handle on how and why the civil war happened. he actually makes reading about pol
Grindy Stone
May 25, 2016 Grindy Stone rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Most books on the Civil War, even the detailed, multi-volume ones, treat the North and South in the abstract, and give one or two chapters on the years leading up to the war before they're off and running with Fort Sumter and Bull Run. This masterpiece examines the behavior of key states as they made their choices to secede, and also highlights the role geography played in the run up to war. The war was fought over slavery beyond anything else, don't let anyone tell you otherwise, but the early ...more
Jefferson Coombs
Jan 30, 2016 Jefferson Coombs rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
This trilogy is wonderful. Catton is a fantastic writer. I really enjoyed reading these books.
May 10, 2013 Jeff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bruce Catton is in a league of his own where Civil War histories are concerned. I learned more in the first 100 pages than I've learned from any other author for a very long time.

Mr. Catton spends most of this volume (the first of a trilogy) bringing to light the events leading up to the war (the first volume ends with First Bull Run) and spends most of his efforts on explaining how we got from the election of 1860 to the fracturing of the Union to shells flying.

No disrespect to the many other C
Neil Funsch
Sep 14, 2015 Neil Funsch rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anything by Catton is good. If you want to understand the Civil War, start with him.
Don Vandelinder
Mar 16, 2012 Don Vandelinder rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Unlike most books on the Civil War, this begins with the presidential conventions of 1860 and sets the political scene for the terrible war to come. We all know about the battles of the war but this explains the legal maneuvers behind the scenes.

The author uses an extensive list of sources. Along with the hard news items, he weaves in personal diary entries and letters to let the reader know the thoughts and fears of the people caught up in the events.

There are a few areas that get a bit long w
Jan 25, 2014 Sparrowfall rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent account of why the civil war began. This book refutes the notion that the civil war began for any reason other than slavery.
May 24, 2012 Dan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
A simply outstanding history of the Civil War. There is a reason Catton's Trilogy is considered so authoritative and comprehensive. I would have liked to have had a bit more about the antebellum period and the lead-up to the war, but the focus of this work is really on the immediate build-up to the start of the war.
I highly recommend this to anyone interested in learning more about this bloody conflict and its immediate causes.
Aug 08, 2012 Thomas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Catton does an excellent job of creating uncertainty of a future which is our well-known past, and thereby creates a tension, a suspense, because we as readers do not know how this vehemence and vitriol will resolve itself. Like the actors of the time, we're made ignorant of the horrible consequences to come, but we can see the inevitability of violence, if not its intensity and vast encompassing malice.
Apr 14, 2014 Calvin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american-history
Ive always had an awareness of Catton as a significant Scholar of the Civil War-but this was a bit of a revelation. Very well written, very insightful, and extremely well argued and backed up. I especially added all the little side stores-men and women who made up that era but you otherwise would never hear of. Ill read more Catton after this.
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Catton was known as a narrative historian who specialized in popular histories that emphasized the colorful characters and vignettes of history, in addition to the simple dates, facts, and analysis. His works, although well-researched, were generally not presented in a rigorous academic style, supported by footnotes. In the long line of Civil War historians, Catton is arguably the most prolific an ...more
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Other Books in the Series

The Centennial History of the Civil War (3 books)
  • Terrible Swift Sword: The Centennial History of the Civil War Series, Volume 2
  • Never Call Retreat

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