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The Caning: The Assault That Drove America to Civil War

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  64 ratings  ·  8 reviews
A Turning Point in American History, the Beating of U.S. Senator Charles Sumner and the Beginning of the War Over Slavery
Early in the afternoon of May 22, 1856, ardent pro-slavery Congressman Preston S. Brooks of South Carolina strode into the United States Senate Chamber in Washington, D.C., and began beating renowned anti-slavery Senator Charles Sumner with a gold-topped
Hardcover, 374 pages
Published October 10th 2012 by Westholme Publishing
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Michael Austin
This was an odd book to read and a difficult one to review. On the one hand, it's journalistic approach to the topic makes it much more accessible and, in many places, more interesting, than the half-dozen or so more scholarly books on the topic. But the accessibility comes with a certain amount of sensationalism (not that the caning incident itself lacked for sensationalism), a confused chronology, and a tendency to view the entire buildup to the civil war through the lens of the incident that ...more
Drama is difficult when the results are known, but in this historic recounting of the famous caning by southern Brooks to northern Senator Sumner there is a tension that you look for in good novels.

Bloody Kansas, a country tired of the horrible institution called slavery and a south comfortable in the inconsistent application of whip, chain, and inhumanity of the institution meant that conflict was inevitable.

Even religion could not expel or justify this blight on national history, but the resu
Donald Luther
Post hoc ergo propter hoc. When I was teaching Combined Studies, colleague Michael Feuer included a lesson on the English half of the syllabus on logical fallacies. It was, I think useful to the kids and served a purpose for their subsequent years at Oak Ridge.

But the fallacy I opened this review with wasn't among those he treated. I used to do it in MEH during their senior year. I used part of Mark Twain's table talks from 'Mark Twain Tonight!' to get the point across, about how, during the Civ
On May 20th, 1856, Massachusetts senator Charles Sumner delivers his most famous, most scathing anti-slavery speech in reaction to "Bleeding Kansas." In his speech, he personally attacks three of his Southern colleagues, including the much-respected Andrew Butler. On May 22nd, 1856, South Carolina statesman--and kinsman to Butler--Preston Brooks corners Sumner at his desk in the senate chamber and beats him in the head with his cane until it snaps in half. Here is the true "first" battle of the ...more
Very interesting book on the caning of Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner by South Carolina Congressman Preston Brooks which was sparked by Sumner's anti slavery speech in 1856. The books takes an in-depth look at the backgrounds of both men and the impact on the ongoing debate about slavery that led to the Civil War. I learned a bit more about events leading to the civil war as well as an appreciation for one of Massachusetts most outspoken anti-slavery voices. Recommended.
It's embarrassing how little I knew about Charles Sumner or this incident prior to reading "The Caning," but Stephen Puleo brilliantly dissects how Preston Brooks' attack on Sumner in the Senate chamber was in many ways the defining precursor to the Civil War. Fascinating stuff, superbly researched and presented.
Puleo does an interesting job making Preston Brooks more sympathetic than Charles Sumner. The historical background is well done, as is the aftermath of the caning (which occurs about midway through the book's timeline), but I can't help but wonder how skewed the characterizations of Sumner and Brooks turned out.
Aug 05, 2013 Dick rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: all students of American History
Recommended to Dick by: The New Book Shelf at my public Library
Very informative regarding a period of American History of which I new little
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Stephen Puleo is an author, historian, university teacher, public speaker, and communications professional. His five narrative nonfiction works include:
• The Caning: The Assault That Drove America to Civil War (2012)
• A City So Grand: The Rise of an American Metropolis, Boston 1850-1900 (2010)
• The Boston Italians: A Story of Pride, Perseverance and Paesani, from the Years of the Great Immigratio
More about Stephen Puleo...
Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919 A City So Grand: The Rise of an American Metropolis: Boston 1850-1900 The Boston Italians: A Story of Pride, Perseverance, and Paesani, from the Years of the Great Immigration to the Present Day Due to Enemy Action: The True World War II Story of the USS Eagle 56 Priceless: The History of America's Efforts to Protect Its Own Crown Jewels: The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Gettysburg Address

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