Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Disease in the Public Mind book review

My most recent book on tape was "A Disease in the Public Mind: A New Understanding of Why We Fought the Civil War" by Thomas Fleming

Basically this is a book about slavery as the cause of the war.  It starts off with the John Brown raid, then goes back to the creation of Constitution and follows the time line back through the end of the Civil War.

I thought it was a good book that covered many events of the first 100 years of the country.  I would have one dispute though.  Calling this a "new understanding of why we fought the Civil War" is far from accurate.  Slavery was considered a cause of the war from the moment it happened.  At various times other interpretations have emerged.  Directly after the war the defeated Confederates tried to cast it as a conflict over states rights.  It feels like slavery was diminished as a cause for quite awhile and sometime around the centennial made a comeback to its rightful place.  At this point I'm not sure that anyone taking up a new study of the causes, without any bias, would not think that slavery was the main cause of the conflict.  I'm not sure the point where this interpretation took hold but from my own experience I'd say this is far from a recent development.

So quibbling with a subtitle is my main complaint.  Other than that I thought it was a good book.

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