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Publisher's Summary

Pulitzer Prize-winning author John Matteson illuminates three harrowing months of the Civil War and their enduring legacy for America.

December 1862 drove the United States toward a breaking point. The Battle of Fredericksburg shattered Union forces and Northern confidence. As Abraham Lincoln's government threatened to fracture, this critical moment also tested five extraordinary individuals whose lives reflect the soul of a nation. The changes they underwent led to profound repercussions in the country's law, literature, politics, and popular mythology. Taken together, their stories offer a striking restatement of what it means to be American.

Guided by patriotism, driven by desire, all five moved toward singular destinies. A young Harvard intellectual steeped in courageous ideals, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. confronted grave challenges to his concept of duty. The one-eyed army chaplain Arthur Fuller pitted his frail body against the evils of slavery. Walt Whitman, a gay Brooklyn poet condemned by the guardians of propriety, and Louisa May Alcott, a struggling writer seeking an authentic voice and her father's admiration, tended soldiers' wracked bodies as nurses. On the other side of the national schism, West Point cadet John Pelham achieved a unique excellence in artillery tactics as he served a doomed and misbegotten cause.

©2021 John Matteson (P)2021 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

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  • Peter H. Christensen
  • 02-09-2021

Fantastic Intertwining!

You will enjoy this intertwining of great Americans. It will inspire and touch your heart.

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  • Jason
  • 15-07-2021

Brilliant

Fantastic stories and fantastic research.. all I can really say is this is an instant classic.

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