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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 of 5 stars 4.26  ·  rating details  ·  1,643 ratings  ·  49 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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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
Kathy Stone
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
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Patrick Skelly
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
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
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
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
"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
Rereading this after a few years. 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 machinery by which
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

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
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!
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.
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
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
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
Anything by Catton is good. If you want to understand the Civil War, start with him.
Don Vandelinder
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Good overall book to learn of factors that lead to the start of the Civil War. Though its packed with great details and excellent descriptions of people and events, its easy to read, eaven for someone who's not a Civil War buff. I liked the balance between the north and south sides and the analysis of how different factors were thinking
Steve Woods
This is fantastic history. It reads like a novel, Catton must truly have been a great teacher in the flesh. Without doubt some of the most brilliant and entertaining historical writing I have ever read. Not only that but clarity, tremendous clarity. I am definitely the richer for the reading, now onto the companion volumes!
I loved this series as a junior high kid, in fact I trace my interest in history to reading this series during a long Nebraska winter. Catton was a master storyteller, he had to have been to keep a 13 year-old boy away from the Love Boat, Fantasy Island or Charlie's Angels (the latter only on nights when my parents were out).
I finally got the chance to finish this volume almost exactly 20 years after I had started it. It is excellent, but military service and Viet Nam claimed most of my attention before I got far into it.

This trilogy holds the promise of being a perfect follow-up to Catton's Army of the Potomac trilogy.
Aug 18, 2007 Charlie is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Thd plight of the Democrats on the eve of the Civil War was strikingly similar to that of the Republicans today. They could probably have won if they could have agreed on Douglas as a candidate, and Douglas was fine on the "issues," he just wasn't fine on the "values." Not a good sign for Rudy....
Whew, finally finished - admittedly, the amount of time it took me to read this was of my own doing and is not a reflection on the quality of the book.

Now, if only middle and high schools used these books to teach history...
Very well-written introduction to the Civil War. I would highly recommend that the reader completes the series since the books get even better. The third book in the series is exceptional.
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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
More about Bruce Catton...

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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