Allegiance: Fort Sumter, Charleston, and the Beginning of the Civil War

Allegiance: Fort Sumter, Charleston, and the Beginning of the Civil War

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Foreward by Gene Smith, author of Lee and Grant

An original and deeply human portrait of soldiers and civilians caught in the vortex of war.

So vividly does Allegiance re-create the events leading to the firing of the first shot of the Civil War on April 12, 1861, that we can feel the fabric of the Union tearing apart. It is a tense and surprising story, filled with indecisive bureaucrats, uninformed leaders, hotheaded politicians, and dedicated and honorable soldiers on both sides.

The six-month-long agony that began with Lincoln's election in November sputtered from one crisis to the next until Lincoln's inauguration, and finally exploded as the soldiers at Sumter neared starvation. At the center of this dramatic narrative is the heroic figure of Major Robert Anderson, a soldier whose experience had taught him above all that war is the poorest form of policy. With little help from Washington, D.C., Anderson almost single-handedly forestalled the beginning of the war until he finally had no choice but to fight.

David Detzer's decade-long research illuminates the passions that led to the fighting, the sober reflections of the man who restrained its outbreak, and individuals on both sides who changed American history. No other historian has given us a clearer or more intimate picture of the human drama of Fort Sumter.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780151006410
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 03/28/2005
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 392
Sales rank: 631,245
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)
Lexile: 1130L (what's this?)

About the Author

David Detzer is professor emeritus of history with Connecticut State University. He is the author of several books, including Allegiance: Fort Sumter, Charleston, and the Beginning of the Civil War; and The Brink: Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962. He lives in Connecticut with his wife and several dogs.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1Asunder1
Chapter 2A Gentle Man16
Chapter 3Salad Days29
Chapter 4The Fulcrum46
Chapter 5Twilight of the Old Union65
Chapter 6Commanders and Chiefs80
Chapter 7Slim Pickens, Stout Fort93
Chapter 8Eventide108
Chapter 9Dueling Flags123
Chapter 10The Wolf at the Door137
Chapter 11Hostages162
Chapter 12The Boys on the Beach192
Chapter 13Takes Two to Tango, But One Can Do the Twist All Alone210
Chapter 14The Yellow Brick Road232
Chapter 15That Little Bridge254
Chapter 16A Mere Point of Honor268
Chapter 17Ashes and Dust287
Mystic Chords of Memory: A Postscript311

What People are Saying About This

James M. McPherson

...a splendid story of people, ordinary and extraordinary, living through extraordinary experiences...Their story has never been told so well.
— (James M. McPherson, author of Battle Cry of Freedom)

William C. Davis

Well researched, dramatically yet thoughtfully written...the definitive word on the first moments of our greatest national tragedy.
— (William C. Davis, author of An Honorable Defeat)

John Waugh

...all that good narrative history ought to be.
— (John Waugh, author or Reflecting Lincoln)

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Allegiance: Fort Sumter, Charleston, and the Beginning of the Civil War 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
SquireMike on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Surprisingly -- only because this author is new to me -- this was a well written and engaging story. The events leading up to Fort Sumter can, for me, be a little dry compared to the big battles of the Civil War. But this book is written with a sense of drama that makes it enjoyable as a story. The best compliment I can pay is to say that I now wish to read more from this author, which I do.
Big_Bang_Gorilla on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Being one of the author's three volumes describing the coming of the Civil War, a very interesting topic. The author writes and thinks very intelligently and entertainingly; one can ask very little more from popular history than he provides us here.
Guest More than 1 year ago
David Detzer does a fantastic job painting a picture of an intensely nervous time in 'Allegiance'. This book is incredible in the detail that it provides from before the Civil War to the first shots being fired. This book seems to provide more details than you might get were you a citizen of Charleston who read the daily newspaper in 1860-1861.
Guest More than 1 year ago
History is the study of past acts carefully selected by historians. Most everyday acts are ignored by historians, no matter how important they may be. Detzer, examines many seemingly innocuous acts during 1860-61, which led to the Civil War. Detzer, brings the reader to the Harbor of Charleston during the final months of the Buchanan Administration up to the first shots of the Civil War. Detzer provides the reader with a unique perspective of the genesis of the bloodiest war America has been involved in. Through the eyes of Major Robert Anderson, a soldier paid much less attention to by other historians although he was in charge of the Harbor during this crucial period, we see what is was like to be in the Harbor on the brink of Civil War. The conflicting emotions and the attempts made to avert such a conflict are set forth in a narrative fashion that keeps the reader turning the pages. Although, we all know beforehand, how the story concludes, Detzer's storytelling makes you want to keep reading to see how this particular book will end. This is a tribute to Detzer. He has masterly compiled an examination of the acts leading up to the War. Any person interested in an indepth analysis of the Civil War period should read this book.