Though today’s Congress seems combative, all the filibusters and name-calling are nothing compared to when Congressmen actually stabbed and shot one another. From the infamous caning of Charles Sumner to endless challenges to duel, as historian Joanne Freeman shows in The Field of Blood (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, $28), these frayed tensions were practically destined to erupt into the Civil War. Remembering the Congress of the past solely as hallowed halls and dignified men, she argues, is dangerous, as the real history reveals uncomfortable yet necessary truths about a nation on the brink of disunion. Written with wit, flair, and a hint of cheek, Freeman presents these Congressmen as petty, triumphant, stoic, and vengeful—or, as she puts it more simply, human.
The Field of Blood by Joanne Freeman
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - September 11th, 2018