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Half Slave and Half Free: The Roots of Civil War
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Half Slave and Half Free: The Roots of Civil War

3.73  ·  Rating Details ·  199 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
Revised Edition
With a New Preface and Afterword

In a revised edition, brought completely up to date with a new preface and afterword and an expanded bibliography, Bruce Levine's succinct and persuasive treatment of the basic issues that precipitated the Civil War is as compelling as ever. Levine explores the far-reaching, divisive changes in American life that came with the
Paperback, Revised, 336 pages
Published May 11th 2005 by Hill and Wang (first published 1992)
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Community Reviews

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Aug 23, 2013 Kevin rated it liked it
Shelves: history
A little bit on the dense side, but nonetheless an interesting journey into the life and politics of the antebellum United States.
Dec 26, 2012 Melinda rated it really liked it
It was very complex, but it really helps nail down the ideas that kept the conflict between the north and south alive. I read this for my civil war class, but found it absolutely fascinating.
Wisteria Leigh
Jul 23, 2008 Wisteria Leigh rated it really liked it
2008-Spring,TAH,American history,American Civil War,antebellum,Reform,
Joseph Stieb
Oct 09, 2015 Joseph Stieb rated it really liked it
Shelves: us-civil-war
Although this book didn't revolutionize my understanding of the roots of the Civil War, it still does a pretty good job explaining the cultural and political factors that provoked the conflict.Levine covers a lot of social and cultural history in the first half of the 20th century. I found this section frustrating because it was so distanced from politics and I knew a lot of it already. If I was a newcomer to antebellum history, I would have found this section more useful and interesting, so it ...more
Michael VanZandt
May 05, 2009 Michael VanZandt rated it really liked it
Shelves: american-history
Levine provides us with a very concise version of the sectional struggle between the slave states and the free states leading up to the Civil War. At no point does his prose drift into a monotonous droning of historical diction. He hits his points swiftly, and shining light with intriguing anecdotes and primary sources, from not only the leading lights of politics and literature, but also from the mechanics and the immigrants and the enslaved.

Levine reserves his vitriolic best for a number of c
Serjeant Wildgoose
Mar 09, 2013 Serjeant Wildgoose rated it really liked it
There will be some (Many) who would continue to be enraged by the thrust of Levine's view that the roots of America's civil war lay in slavery, but it is very difficult for any reasoned mind to conclude otherwise when much of his primary source evidence is drawn from the pre-revisionist pens of senior southern politicians, planters and soldiers.

Those who argue that the causes of the war were economic, cultural or social miss the somewhat inconvenient fact that the very foundation of these differ
Oct 05, 2013 Jeremy rated it it was ok
Levin's book really only picks up steam in Chapter 10 and in the afterward, in which Davis, Stephens and others tacitly or otherwise admit that slavery was more or less the root cause of the war. The first half of the book doesn't break much new ground, and even people who purport the faulty state's rights argument don't deny the political turmoil caused by the institution in the 80 years leading up to 1861. For a more targeted handling of the subject, see Eric Foner's "Free Soil Free Labor Free ...more
Jul 23, 2016 Judy rated it really liked it
Bruce Levine views the American Revolution of 1776 as an incomplete revolution because it permitted the continued development of two entirely different social and economic systems to coexist in the United States--one based on free labor and one based on slavery. As a result, he argues that the issue of slavery made differences, both interstate and intrastate, so pronounced and emotionally charged that the outbreak of the Civil War was inevitable. A well-written, well-documented work with an exte ...more
Apr 06, 2008 Brasof rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
Broad overview of the social, cultural, political, and economic forces that shape the outbreak of the civil war. I love the focus on the philosophy and impact of free soilers and the way in which author Levine characterizes the civil war. Was the civil war about slavery?
Caitlin Gette-king
Nov 04, 2011 Caitlin Gette-king rated it liked it
Shelves: school
The chapters I found most interesting were the ones on Northern and Southern Victorian culture and how that played into motivations for the war and why soldiers enlisted. Overall, interesting information.
Jun 22, 2016 Al rated it liked it
A very detailed development of the social and political climate in America in the decades leading up to secession of the southern states and the Civil War.
Apr 02, 2008 Aisha rated it really liked it
This book is a great primer on Antebellum History and it superbly showcases both the northern and southern perspective. I'd recommend this to anyone interested in the causes of the Civil War.
Linda Jaffier
Linda Jaffier rated it it was amazing
Apr 21, 2016
غسان الموجي
غسان الموجي rated it really liked it
Nov 25, 2014
Kevin rated it liked it
Feb 26, 2016
Vicki Jowers
Vicki Jowers rated it it was amazing
Dec 01, 2014
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Jan 17, 2015
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Mar 10, 2015
Dawn rated it really liked it
Jan 30, 2011
May 21, 2008 Robshelton365 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
Great overview of the coming of the war. Very good for undergraduate classes on the Civil War.
Jack rated it really liked it
Jun 23, 2014
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Aug 08, 2010
Mac H
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Feb 24, 2016
Karin Tome
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Mar 08, 2008
Eileen rated it it was amazing
Mar 08, 2011
Banshraj Kashyap
Banshraj Kashyap rated it it was amazing
Oct 11, 2015
Candace rated it it was ok
Sep 09, 2012
andrew rated it really liked it
Sep 06, 2012
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