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Madness Rules the Hour: Charleston, 1860, and the Mania for War
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Hachette Audio 2017
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Description

From Lincoln's election to secession from the Union, this compelling history explains how South Carolina was swept into a cultural crisis at the heart of the Civil War.

"The tea has been thrown overboard — the revolution of 1860 has been initiated." — Charleston Mercury, November 8, 1860

In 1860, Charleston, South Carolina, embodied the combustible spirit of the South. No city was more fervently attached to slavery, and no city was seen by the North as a greater threat to the bonds barely holding together the Union. And so, with Abraham Lincoln's election looming, Charleston's leaders faced a climactic decision: they could submit to abolition — or they could drive South Carolina out of the Union and hope that the rest of the South would follow.

In Madness Rules the Hour, Paul Starobin tells the story of how Charleston succumbed to a fever for war and charts the contagion's relentless progress and bizarre turns. In doing so, he examines the wily propagandists, the ambitious politicians, the gentlemen merchants and their wives and daughters, the compliant pastors, and the white workingmen who waged a violent and exuberant revolution in the name of slavery and Southern independence. They devoured the Mercury, the incendiary newspaper run by a fanatical father and son; made holy the deceased John C. Calhoun; and adopted "Le Marseillaise" as a rebellious anthem. Madness Rules the Hour is a portrait of a culture in crisis and an insightful investigation into the folly that fractured the Union and started the Civil War.

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Format:
OverDrive MP3 Audiobook, OverDrive Listen
Edition:
Unabridged
Street Date:
04/11/2017
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781478974857
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APA Citation (style guide)

Paul Starobin. (2017). Madness Rules the Hour: Charleston, 1860, and the Mania for War. Unabridged Hachette Audio.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Paul Starobin. 2017. Madness Rules the Hour: Charleston, 1860, and the Mania for War. Hachette Audio.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Paul Starobin, Madness Rules the Hour: Charleston, 1860, and the Mania for War. Hachette Audio, 2017.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Paul Starobin. Madness Rules the Hour: Charleston, 1860, and the Mania for War. Unabridged Hachette Audio, 2017.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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      • bioText: Paul Starobin is the author of Madness Rules the Hour: Charleston, 1860 and the Mania for War, praised by the New York Times as a "fast-paced, engagingly written account" of the hysteria that descended on Charleston, South Carolina, on the eve of the Civil War. He has been a frequent contributor to the Atlantic and is a former Moscow bureau chief for Business Week. He has written for other publications including the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, City Journal, Politico, and National Geographic. He lives with his family in Orleans, Massachusetts.
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Madness Rules the Hour
fullDescription

From Lincoln's election to secession from the Union, this compelling history explains how South Carolina was swept into a cultural crisis at the heart of the Civil War.


"The tea has been thrown overboard — the revolution of 1860 has been initiated." — Charleston Mercury, November 8, 1860


In 1860, Charleston, South Carolina, embodied the combustible spirit of the South. No city was more fervently attached to slavery, and no city was seen by the North as a greater threat to the bonds barely holding together the Union. And so, with Abraham Lincoln's election looming, Charleston's leaders faced a climactic decision: they could submit to abolition — or they could drive South Carolina out of the Union and hope that the rest of the South would follow.


In Madness Rules the Hour, Paul Starobin tells the story of how Charleston succumbed to a fever for war and charts the contagion's relentless progress and bizarre turns. In doing so, he examines the wily propagandists, the ambitious politicians, the gentlemen merchants and their wives and daughters, the compliant pastors, and the white workingmen who waged a violent and exuberant revolution in the name of slavery and Southern independence. They devoured the Mercury, the incendiary newspaper run by a fanatical father and son; made holy the deceased John C. Calhoun; and adopted "Le Marseillaise" as a rebellious anthem. Madness Rules the Hour is a portrait of a culture in crisis and an insightful investigation into the folly that fractured the Union and started the Civil War.

reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        February 27, 2017
        Starobin (After America: Narratives for the Next Global Age), a former Moscow bureau chief for Businessweek, reflects on the cultural fissures that led America to civil war in this limited portrait of antebellum Charleston, S.C. Tracking the city’s descent into secessionist fervor, he follows a cast of prominent Charlestonians that includes newspapermen, politicians, and religious leaders. Starobin centers his story on the 1860 Democratic National Convention, which took place in Charleston and intensified regional divisions over slavery. The narrative draws heavily on newspaper accounts and letters, capturing the prevailing fear and uncertainty that enveloped the city’s white slave-owning elite in the wake of John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry and Lincoln’s election to the presidency. In a disappointing omission, Starobin gives short shrift to the city’s large black population, both free and enslaved, as well as other voices that went unheard during the formal secessionist debates, leaving unanswered questions about the texture of Charleston daily life. Starobin’s episodic recounting of Charleston’s push toward secession uncovers a range of Southern attitudes concerning abolition and national identity, but without a clear organizing argument, the story proceeds in fits and starts.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        Starred review from March 1, 2017
        It was 1860 in Charleston, South Carolina, the political epicenter of the Old South, at a time of polarized partisanship. Things did not turn out well at all.Journalist Starobin (After America: Narratives for the Next Global Age, 2009) describes the year before the Civil War officially began with the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor. The Southern economy and its way of life depended on cotton and the labor provided by slavery to support it. As many of Charleston's prominent men argued, if there was agitation to break away from the federal Union, that was the fault of the North, with its increasing reluctance to sanction slavery. The Democratic National Convention in Charleston was riven. Yankee delegates named one presidential candidate; secessionists named another. The city's gentry imagined a confederacy of states standing alone. Starobin artfully depicts the few townsmen who were more cautious and the many publishers, planters, lawyers, and others who led the secessionists. As sentiment for rebellion increased, so did restrictions on the city's free blacks, and a diverse selection of uniformed militia--e.g., the Washington Light Infantry and the Charleston Light Dragoons--paraded around town. As the election countdown proceeded with jingoist crowds, meetings, and bombast, Southern blood heated up, ready to be spilled. There was no turning back. A Secession Convention proclaimed the state's departure from the Union, followed by a great celebration. Throughout, Starobin's narrative pulses with partisan agitation. With speeches and letters of the period, the author demonstrates that the fight was less about states' rights than what many Southerners believed were their rights to own human chattel. His story of the fraught year ends before the firing on besieged Sumter, and his final chapter describes utterly destroyed Charleston after Appomattox. A dramatic and engaging addition to Civil War studies that serves as a fitting bookend paired with Jay Winik's account of the end of the war, April 1865 (2001).

        COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        March 15, 2017

        On the eve of the Civil War, Charleston, SC, long the most proslavery U.S. city, was the epicenter of the Southern secession movement. Journalist Starobin (After America) provides a vivid description of the mood and events in Charleston that would eventually lead to the Civil War. Secession fever escalated rapidly after John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry in 1859 and intensified the following year. In April 1860, several Southern delegates walked out of the Democratic Convention (by coincidence, held in Charleston) after a disagreement over slavery in the party platform. In May 1860, the Republican nomination of Abraham Lincoln for president added more fuel to the fire. By December 20, at Institute Hall in Charleston, South Carolinians voted to leave the Union. Many prominent Charlestonians were influential in the secession movement, including Robert Barnwell Rhett, owner of the pro-secession newspaper Charleston Mercury; John Ferrars Townsend, author of the pamphlet The South Alone, Should Govern the South; and Andrew Gordon Magrath, a federal judge who resigned after Lincoln's election. VERDICT Starobin's narrative is readable and lively; he is skilled at creating setting and character description. Recommended for those interested in the Civil War and its causes.--Dave Pugl, Ela Area P.L., Lake Zurich, IL

        Copyright 2017 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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From Lincoln's election to secession from the Union, this compelling history explains how South Carolina was swept into a cultural crisis at the heart of the Civil War.


"The tea has been thrown overboard — the revolution of 1860 has been initiated." — Charleston Mercury, November 8, 1860


In 1860, Charleston, South Carolina, embodied the combustible spirit of the South. No city was more fervently attached to slavery, and no city was seen by the North as a greater threat to the bonds barely holding together the Union. And so, with Abraham Lincoln's election looming, Charleston's leaders faced a climactic decision: they could submit to abolition — or they could drive South Carolina out of the Union and hope that the rest of the South would follow.


In Madness Rules the Hour, Paul Starobin tells the story of how Charleston succumbed to a fever for war and charts the contagion's relentless progress and bizarre turns....

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Charleston, 1860, and the Mania for War
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