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1831: Year of Eclipse
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1831: Year of Eclipse

3.29  ·  Rating details ·  148 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
1776, 1861, 1929. Any high-school student should know what these years meant to American history. But wars and economic disasters are not our only pivotal events, and other years have, in a quieter way, swayed the course of our nation. 1831 was one of them, and in this striking new work, Louis Masur shows us exactly how.

The year began with a solar eclipse, for many an omen
Paperback, 272 pages
Published February 9th 2002 by Hill and Wang (first published February 2001)
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Jan 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Beginning this work with the Solar Eclipse of 1831, Masur highlights the events that took place over the course of 1831, a year that, as he goes on describe, changed the course of Antebellum America. The points that Masur decides to highlight - whether Nat Turner's Rebellion, the burning religious revivals of NY and Greater New England, the Indian Removal Acts, the Jacksonian presidency as a whole, and the increase in man-made machinery - give breadth to the notion that 1831 changed the course o ...more
Nick Kratsas
Feb 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
Masur depicts 1831 as a year enveloped in uncertainty, radicalism, and a foreboding sense of change. The book illustrates the depth and variety of issues that were highly contended in the era of Jackson, such as slavery and nullification. Because the Civil War would not come for another thirty or so years, it is interesting, and even a bit shocking, that so many Americans were certain that an armed conflict between the North and South was unavoidable. The entire book is well researched. Multiple ...more
Michael Primiani
Oct 23, 2017 rated it liked it
This book started off great but then got really dry towards the end. Maybe it was the subject matter but the last chapter or two was a struggle. The religion chapter also dragged on
Nov 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
Start with a solar eclipse, add Nat Turner's slave Rebellion, Charles Finney's revivals, de Tocqueville's travels, the Trail of Tears, nullification debates with John C. Calhoun, Andrew Jackson, and the octogenarian John Madison, Audobon's birds, a cholera epidemic, a pinch of Transcendentalism, then shake violently and you have the most important year in ante-bellum America.

Masur brings in Frances Trollop, Beaumont, Tocqueville, the British Hamilton, and a host of others to show us as a nation
Nov 23, 2012 rated it liked it
Louis P. Masur has written a nice, interesting little book about what was going on in the United States in 1831. There's not much depth here; he covers a lot of topics in only 216 pages. There's the Nat Turner uprising, arguments about slavery and abolition, nullification, Andrew Jackson, religion, cholera, the early days of the railroads, John James Audubon, Frances Trollope, Alexis de Tocqueville, the Trail of Tears, and more, even including the opening of a new pastoral cemetery outside of Bo ...more
lisa jahnel
Aug 16, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: history buffs, african american studies students, virginians!
Shelves: history
I read this for an America 1790-1960 history class a couple of years ago. It is definately for the more literate reader...some of the vocabulary can be difficult for someone who doesn't read very often. This is the story of Nat Turner and his slave rebellion. It also gives insight into the political climate of North Hampton area of Virginia at that time at how it contributed to the rebellion. I think it also helps illustrate how media outlets can somewhat pervert the actual events and incited mo ...more
Douglas Summers-Stay
I read this because most of my picture of that time period comes from stories about the early church and from the Alvin Maker series, and I wanted to see what it looked like from another point of view. I was struck by the contrast between the slavery, treatment of indians, and war on nature on the one hand and the pioneer spirit and energy of the country on the other hand. It was also interesting to read about the New York religious revival that set the stage for the restoration and about the fi ...more
I actually didnt hate this book but found it be kinda boring. I wouldnt recommend it to many people but it is an easy read and decently quick. Overall I would give it a C- just because it is a bit boring but does have some good historical facts about a year that is overlooked within the historical timeline.

Feb 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: class, history
A really good little read about a singular year in American history. Its amazing what all we can pack into 365 days...
Henry Rice
May 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

loved the stories, descriptions and insight. Recommended for any students of history or persons interested in the American spirit and experience.
Jun 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Excellent and thought provoking.
Travis Zuber
Jul 24, 2012 rated it liked it
Masur does well when tackling political history but his thesis is unclear and he never adequately explains why the eclipse was central to the interpretation.
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