A Disease in the Public Mind: A New Understanding of Why We Fought the Civil War

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There’s never been a war more costly to Americans than the Civil War. Those years of strife forever changed our nation, and to this day, we continue to study not only its effects, but how the conflict arose in the first place.

A Disease in the Public Mind poses a fascinating theory regarding the causes of the Civil War, taking us into the collective psyches of both the North and South, and suggesting that states’ rights, slavery, and economics had less to do with taking up arms than prevailing opinions and fears.

As Fleming charts preceding events both in America and abroad, he casts what we thought we knew in a new light, examining how these “diseases of the public mind” took hold, and more intriguingly, how they might have been defused without bloodshed. With a tremendous grasp of history and some unique insight into the psychology of both factions, Fleming has presented a valuable glimpse into what was, and what might have been.

We need more history books like this, embracing the why more than the what and when, providing crucial lessons to learn from, and offering chances to avoid the same mistakes in the future.


Reviewed By:

Author Fleming, Thomas
Star Count 4.5/5
Format Trade
Page Count 384 pages
Publisher Da Capo Press
Publish Date 2014-Jun-03
ISBN 9780306822957
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue September 2014
Category History
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