United under the general rubric of a sense of persecution, the secessionists hastily created a faux nation -- a confederacy of states -- based on its economic clout and commitment to inhuman methods of achieving that economic supremacy. White supremacy is indeed an ancillary undercurrent of Goodheart's 1861. Although the author does not dwell too long on matters related to race, class, and power in the antebellum United States, Goodheart cannot help but trace the evolution of Union sentiment to one that was almost universally ambivalent towards slavery towards one that was adamantly opposed to it. In fact, this is one of the central features of the awakening the nation experienced. Were it not for the shots heard at Fort Sumter, and were it not for the vehemence with which the Civil War would be fought, the Unionists might never have discovered the ethical and moral purpose for fighting against slavery.

Goodheart presents his thesis about the "awakening" of 1861 well, by using narrative and deft prose. The theme of awakening is a strong one because many readers will assume that the Northerners had already become staunch abolitionists when the South seceded. Not so, notes Goodheart. Goodheart's book 1861 is largely about the North finding itself. The book is about the realization that the nation founded in 1776 was not yet perfect and that there was yet work to be done. For the majority of privileged whites in both Northern and Southern states, the status quo worked just fine. However, slavery was an American addiction. It was a sick means of coping with economic competition and the rise of globalization and industrialization. Had the South not foreseen the importance of fighting for its economic sovereignty, the North might never have recognized the sickness it was enabling by allowing slavery to continue to stain the American consciousness. Slavery and democracy cannot coexist; slavery and freedom cannot coexist; and slavery and liberty cannot coexist.

There are few faults to be found with Goodheart's 1861: The Civil War Awakening. The book is not a military history of the war, but the author does incorporate military facts when they are needed in the narrative. Goodheart all but omits input from African-Americans in the north, as well as females, but this approach is to be expected given the lack of voice women and minorities were given in nineteenth century America. Because 1861 offers a peek into one sliver of time and culture, the author must be absolutely comprehensive in his approach; and he is. 1861 is a quality work of accessible but academically robust history.

Work Cited

Goodheart, Adam. 1861: The Civil War Awakening. New York: Borozi, 2011.

Please include information based on the source: 1861: The Civil War Awakening

by Adam Goodheart. Please format the report in the following way: 1) brief summary of the book (1861:Civil…