Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “1861: The Civil War Awakening” as Want to Read:
1861: The Civil War Awakening
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

1861: The Civil War Awakening

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  4,847 Ratings  ·  392 Reviews
1861 is an epic of courage and heroism beyond the battlefields. Early in that fateful year, a second American revolution unfolded, inspiring a new generation to reject their parents’ faith in compromise and appeasement, to do the unthinkable in the name of an ideal. It set Abraham Lincoln on the path to greatness and millions of slaves on the road to freedom.

The book intro
Audio CD
Published October 18th 2011 by Brilliance Audio (first published 2011)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about 1861, please sign up.

Recent Questions

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-10)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Jun 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would consider myself a Civil War enthusiast. I read books about the war; watch movies and documentaries about the war; and I love visiting the battlefields, though one invariably finds that they are either fast-disappearing due to development, or so cluttered with bronze cannon and statuary that it is impossible to imagine what took place (and sometimes, you find both these things).

Admittedly, my interest has always been the interest of a ten year-old boy chasing his brother around with a ca
Sep 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: aere-perennius, 2015
"This is essentially a people's contest. On the side of the Union it is a struggle for maintaining in the world that form and substance of government whose leading object is to elevate the condition of men--to lift artificial weights from all shoulders, to clear the paths of laudable pursuit for all, to afford all an unfettered start and a fair chance, in the race of life. Yielding to partial and temporary departures from necessity, this is the leading object of the government for whose existenc ...more
A.J. Howard
150 years ago this month, Secessionist forces opened fire on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor. After 34 hours hours of bombardment, Major Robert Anderson agreed to surrender the fort. The day's fighting resulted in no casualties on either side, except a donkey caught in the cross fire. Within a few years, maybe months, of the firing on Fort Sumter, the proceeding conflict has taken on an air of inevitability. "A house divided can not stand," as Lincoln said; the fundamental issue at stake would ...more
Nov 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: us-civil-war
Adam Goodheart recounts the events both large and small that define the character of America, as the war came down around it. Despite the extreme polarization, it does not seem that many expected a real war and certainly did not understand the destruction it would bring.

There are glimpses of the ineffectual President Buchanan in his last days in office and the young future President Garfield growing in political awareness. Wide-Awake marches are described as is the story of re-captured slave Luc
David Eppenstein
I found this book thanks to the positive review of a GR friend (thanks Jim). The friendships GR cultivates is one of its best features. Now if only they would create a platform so that GR friends could engage in group messaging and discussion that would be fantastic. I guess I'll give them time to think about that as I'm sure one day one of those geeks will think of this as another way to confuse old timers with another hi-tech application.

Anyway those of us that enjoy reading history are all to
Terry Curtis
May 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an extraordinary piece of work -- extremely well-written history that subtlety makes three major arguments without ever being heavy-handed. The first is to demonstrate how the Civil War was entirely about slavery ***even when individuals were acting out of other motives.*** In other words, while many people took sides and acted out of a conscious desire to preserve the union, they would never have had to take sides or actions if it were not for slavery. And Goodheart demonstrates that be ...more
Joseph Ribera
May 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best books I have ever read about the causes and events leading to the bloodiest conflict on U.S. soil. I have long been interested in the Civil War, strange because my ancestors did not come to this country until 25 to 30 years after the war had ended.

This book addresses the first year, 1861, and the characters and events leading to the shelling of Fort Sumter and the first combat of the war between the states.

What is very clear is that this was both a war to end the peculiar institu
Nov 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a life-long student of American history, I know quite a bit about the period of the Civil War. But this book by Adam Goodheart about the opening months of the Civil War was simply fascinating. Goodheart examines the goals, aspirations, and hopes of the people involved in the Civil War in every section of the country. And he is able to bring 1861 to life by filling the book with accounts of the lives of people--both well-known and more obscure--who played a part in the beginning of the conflic ...more
Jun 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult, non-fiction
I learned a lot of new stuff about the foundation for the Civil War from this book, which basically takes part of 1860 and part of 1861 and digs into events and people that are not normally front and center in this history, along with the usual stuff. Great insights into the country's feelings about slavery at the time, both in the North and the South. And if anyone continues to insist this war was NOT about slavery, hopefully reading this book will finally disabuse them of that belief, given th ...more
Jim Cooper
I've always felt like I understood the Civil War, but in a distant, hazy kind of way - even after reading several books about it. So reading Adam Goodheart's book was a revelation. It was like taking a time machine back in time to 1861. He really helps you get a feel for what being an American during that crazy time period was like, and how Americans saw the issues that would push the country to war. More than that, it really makes the Civil War era clear in your mind - like you're watching it u ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
U.S. History Read...: 1861: The Civil War Awakening 17 11 May 13, 2015 05:00AM  
  • A World on Fire: Britain's Crucial Role in the American Civil War
  • Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid That Sparked the Civil War
  • This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War
  • The Fall of the House of Dixie: The Civil War and the Social Revolution That Transformed the South
  • America Aflame: How the Civil War Created a Nation
  • Gettysburg: The Last Invasion
  • Liberty's Exiles: American Loyalists in the Revolutionary World
  • Vicksburg, 1863
  • The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery
  • The Coming Fury
  • War on the Waters: The Union and Confederate Navies, 1861-1865
  • Landscape Turned Red: The Battle of Antietam
  • The Long Road to Antietam: How the Civil War Became a Revolution
  • America's Great Debate: Henry Clay, Stephen A. Douglas, and the Compromise That Preserved the Union
  • The American Civil War: A Military History
  • Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory
  • The Passing of Armies: An Account of the Final Campaign of the Army of the Potomac
  • To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918
Adam Goodheart is a historian, essayist, and journalist. His articles have appeared in National Geographic, Outside, Smithsonian, The Atlantic, and The New York Times Magazine, among others, and he is a regular columnist for the Times’ acclaimed Civil War series, “Disunion.” He lives in Washington, D.C., and on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, where he is director of Washington College’s C. V. Starr ...more
More about Adam Goodheart...
“By the age of twenty-five, [Louis T. Wigfall] had managed to squander his considerable inheritance, settle three affairs of honor on the dueling ground, fight in a ruthless military campaign against the Seminoles, consume a small lakeful of bourbon, win an enviable reputation in whorehouses throughout the South, and get hauled before a judge on charges of murder. Three years after that, he took the next logical step and went into Texas politics.” 8 likes
“in” 1 likes
More quotes…