Todd Brewster “Lincoln’s Gamble”

September 8th, 2014

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American history books often compress momentous events into capsules, summaries, one-line explanations.

Such has often been the case with President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, the history-changing document that freed the slaves and changed the course of the Civil War.

Now historian and journalist Todd Brewster restores the detail that’s missing, and shows us the six critical months between the time Lincoln first spoke about his intention to free the slaves and the release of the Emancipation Proclamation.

As Brewster describes it in his book “Lincoln’s Gamble” it was perhaps the most tumultuous six months of Lincoln’s presidency. He fought with his generals, disappointed his cabinet, and sank into painful bouts of clinical depression.

Todd  BrewsterBrewster

And perhaps most surprising, he had to convince himself that emancipation was, indeed, the right course of action.
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Sue Monk Kidd “The Invention of Wings”

January 22nd, 2014

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Sue Monk KiddKidd

A young woman of privilege and a young woman born into slavery are inextricably linked, as each tries to find the voice she feels she has been denied, in Sue Monk Kidd‘s new novel “The Invention of Wings.” And it’s based on the lives of two actual women. Sarah Grimke is the daughter of a wealthy South Carolina plantation owner. On her eleventh birthday her gift from her parents is a ten-year-old slave girl named Hetty. Appalled by the notion of owning another human, Sarah is set on a path of activism that will isolate her from family, friends, and antebellum society. Hetty faces ongoing challenges that are brutally life-threatening.

And ultimately the two women’s lives are transformed.

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Tony Horwitz “Midnight Rising”

October 25th, 2011

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Tony  Horwitz

John Brown. Hero? Martyr? Or traitor? Terrorist? Brown’s audacious raid on Harpers Ferry in 1859, with the aim of launching a slave uprising, remains one of the most controversial episodes in American history, and Brown himself one of the most divisive figures.

Tony  HorwitzHorwitz

Yet, think about what most of us learned about it in school, and it’s almost embarrassing how little we know about John Brown and the raid that most agree set the stage for the Civil War.

Now in his book “Midnight Rising” Tony Horwitz takes a fresh new look at Brown, the men and women who helped him, and how the raid really affected our nation’s history.

Listen to Tony Horwitz

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James McBride “Song Yet Sung”

February 12th, 2008

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A runaway slave in pre-Civil War Maryland is caught, imprisoned, then escapes again in James McBride‘s novel “Song Yet Sung.” Liz Spocott has suffered a head injury which gives her the ability to see the future, which, in turn, eventually leaves her to doubt the promise of the underground railroad.

James  McBrideMcBride

We watch, too, as slavery stains everyone it touches, even those who are essentially good people.

Listen to James McBride

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