Pierce is one of the lesser recognized men who have held the presidency. I have been reading up on presidents for awhile now and specifically chose to...morePierce is one of the lesser recognized men who have held the presidency. I have been reading up on presidents for awhile now and specifically chose to seek out a lesser known one. Pierce's s administration is an interesting one. The author focuses on his complicated and insightful role in playing party politics. Unfortunately, these concentrations led for less time in the affairs of the nation. His pro-slavery stance as a Northerner helped spark several issues that led to the Civil War. His own failure to get reelected and help in getting James Buchanan elected by shoring up his party may have sealed this country's fate to lead to the war. His post presidential life reminds me of Bush's right now; magnanimously listening to people who accuse and blame his time in office wile whole-heartedly denying anything else could have been done differently. The book shed light on a potential overthrow in Cuba when it was held by the Spanish we partook in, as well as reminded me of the term 'copperhead' that was slung around prior to the Civil War. I wish the author put more time into Pierce's personal life and as far as during the administration goes, took more time to explain the dealings of the Gadsen Purchase. Still, this Presidents series seems like a great undertaking- scholarly yet approachable, and I think Holt really achieved the objective. (less)
Odd story. Well written. A bit morbid. To be clear, this is a work of non-fiction. Grave robbery was common at the time- though this incident that the...moreOdd story. Well written. A bit morbid. To be clear, this is a work of non-fiction. Grave robbery was common at the time- though this incident that the story revolves around involves ransom. I think from a standpoint of history, this is a very interesting read, but as far as story goes, the title doesn't live up to the contents. Maybe two chapters are devoted to the theft, the rest are devoted to interesting auxiliary topics- funeral practices, fraternal organizations, counterfeit operations, investment history etc. It had a wealth of information I did not plan to acquire, but was happy to. Hard to carry this book on the subway without getting some looks- like it was a 'How-to Guide' or something(less)
This was a great read. Thorough, concise, poignant. Well organized. These tragedies are often overlooked, as Andersonville of Georgia gets more press....moreThis was a great read. Thorough, concise, poignant. Well organized. These tragedies are often overlooked, as Andersonville of Georgia gets more press.
With Elmira being so close to where I live now, I hope to travel there, for the one part of the book that may have been lacking is how the site and the incidents are interpretted by the surrounding area today.
The sections about the Shohola Train Crash and the escape attempts are very interesting.
An interesting note, Seth Eastman, the director of the prison camp at Elmira is known more for his art than for his time as an inept leader of this prison, with his Wikipedia page making no mention of it. (Something I hope to remedy soon, by using this book as a source.)(less)