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The Caning of Charles Sumner: Honor, Idealism, and the Origins of the Civil War

3.13  ·  Rating Details ·  23 Ratings  ·  2 Reviews
A signal, violent event in the history of the United States Congress, the caning of Charles Sumner on the Senate floor embodied the complex North-South cultural divide of the mid-nineteenth century. Williamjames Hull Hoffer's vivid account of the brutal act demonstrates just how far the sections had drifted apart and explains why the coming war was so difficult to avoid.

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Hardcover, 152 pages
Published April 15th 2010 by Johns Hopkins University Press (first published March 25th 2010)
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KV Taylor
Mar 28, 2011 KV Taylor rated it liked it
Shelves: research
A concise and engagingly written book, heavy on fact and with just enough commentary and conclusion to straddle the line between academic belief-pushing and helpful analysis and conjecture. I nearly gave it four stars, but much of Chapter 5's analysis was belaboring the point Hoffer had already very clearly made in telling the tale. It could've been cut in half and served the same purpose with better effect, which was kind of a let down.

That said, the Epilogue did address what few remaining poin
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Mark Cheathem
Jun 03, 2012 Mark Cheathem rated it liked it
Brooks' assault of Sumner was an important antebellum event, but I thought Hoffer strained a bit to connect the caning to the march toward the Civil War.
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Williamjames Hoffer is professor of history at Seton Hall University. He earned his B.A. at Rutgers, his J.D. at Harvard Law School, and his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University.
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