1863: The Rebirth of a Nation (Paperback)
American history has never seen a more tumultuous or more significant year than 1863. During this crucial time the tide of the Civil War turned inexorably from the Confederacy to the Union, with momentous consequences that are still being felt today. It was a year of upheaval unparalleled in our national experience: twelve months of searing brutality and ennobling sacrifice, 365 stirring, dramatic days that changed our country forever.
Integrating the events of this epochal year into a panoramic narrative, Joseph E. Stevens presents a grand portrait of the Union and Confederacy at war. He captures two nations struggling to define the American experiment and create a new understanding of freedom on the bloody battlefields of Stones River, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Vicksburg, Chickamauga, and Chattanooga. He also traces the astonishing political, economic, and social transformations that marked 1863 as a watershed.
1863 features a remarkable cast of characters: larger-than-life leaders like Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis; charismatic and controversial military commanders like Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant, James Longstreet, Joseph Hooker, Stonewall Jackson, George Armstrong Custer, and Nathan Bedford Forrest; avaricious young capitalists like Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, and J. P. Morgan; war-haunted writers like Herman Melville, Louisa May Alcott, and Walt Whitman; war-inspired painters like Winslow Homer and Conrad Wise Chapman.
Here, too, is a host of less well known but no less fascinating personalities: soldiers and civilians, slaves and slave owners, farmers and city dwellers, politicians and profiteers, artistocrats and refugees. Their stories—humorous and harrowing, inspiring and appalling—make 1863 not just a sweeping re-creation of events but a gripping human tale as well.
1863 is popular history at its best—vivid, vibrant, and immensely readable. Written with dramatic intensity and impassioned humanity, it is a thrilling account of the pivotal year of the war that remains the central historical event in the life of our nation.
About the Author
Joseph E. Stevens, a graduate of Princeton University, lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. His first book, Hoover Dam: An American Adventure, was published by the University of Oklahoma Press in 1988. It received the Western Writers of America Spur Award, the John H. Dunning Prize of the American Historical Association, and the W. Turrentine Jackson Prize of the Western History Association.
Advance praise for 1863: The Rebirth of a Nation:
"The year 1863 was the hinge of fate not only for the outcome of the Civil War, but indeed for the destiny of America. Starting in the gloom of defeat forth Union cause and prospect of victory of the Confederacy, this Year of Jubilee for slaves freed by the Emancipation Proclamation was punctuated by historic Northern victories at Gettysburg, Vicksburg, and Chattanooga, and ended in and ended in an apparent reversal of fortunes for North and South. Joseph Stevens's vigorous prose captures the drama and significance of this year of decision in a stunning and important book."
--James M. McPherson, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Battle Cry of Freedom
"1863: The Rebirth of a Nation portrays the remarkable events of that pivotal year in a style that is accurate, readable and rich in human interest. I have read a good deal about the Battle of Gettysburg, but Joseph Stevens kept me riveted with his new treatment of old stories."
--John S.D. Eisenhower, author of Agent of Destiny: The Life and Times of General Winfield Scott
"An energetic, gripping popular history from which readers will gain a panoramic view of this historical turning point."
"A highly accessible chronicling of the Civil War's pivotal year."