Please take a moment to review Hachette Book Group’s updated Privacy Policy: read the updated policy here.

A Disease in the Public Mind

A Disease in the Public Mind

A New Understanding of Why We Fought the Civil War

By the time John Brown hung from the gallows for his crimes at Harper's Ferry, Northern abolitionists had made him a “holy martyr” in their campaign against Southern slave owners. This Northern hatred for Southerners long predated their objections to slavery. They were convinced that New England, whose spokesmen had begun the American Revolution, should have been the leader of the new nation. Instead, they had been displaced by Southern “slavocrats” like Thomas Jefferson. This malevolent envy exacerbated the South's greatest fear: a race war. Jefferson's cry, “We are truly to be pitied,” summed up their dread. For decades, extremists in both regions flung insults and threats, creating intractable enmities. By 1861, only a civil war that would kill a million men could save the Union.
Read More

Genre: Nonfiction / History / United States / Civil War Period (1850-1877)

On Sale: May 7th 2013

Price: $11.99 / $14.99 (CDN)

Page Count: 384

ISBN-13: 9780306822018

What's Inside

Read More Read Less

reader reviews

Praise

Kirkus Reviews, March 2013

“[A] thesis-driven tour.”

Booklist, 4/1

“The prolific Fleming, for decades a fixture among American historians, pinpoints public opinion as the proximate origin of the war…Making a plausible presentation of antebellum attitudes and illusions, Fleming is sure to spark lively discussion about the Civil War.”

Harvard Bookstore, Best Sellers List, 9/5/14

Publishers Weekly, 3/18

 “[Fleming is] always a quirky, contrarian writer-historian.”

What Would the Founders Think?, 4/10/13

“An interesting and readable book. In the course of Fleming's narrative he casts light on some little discussed related events.”

Roanoke Times, 4/26/13

“A thoughtful examination of the root cause of that costly conflagration that interrupted the lives of the entire nation…Fleming's trademark as an historian is his ability to tell a story without interjecting his bias or his own opinions, unless they are supported by facts. In this book, Fleming continues that tradition of professional observation…Fleming's story about our ‘disease in the public mind' is the very essence of good history.”

Library Journal, 5/1/13

“Controversial.”

New York Journal of Books, 5/7/13
“Do we really need another book about the Civil War? Mr. Fleming makes a solid, compelling case in the affirmative. His narrative weaves new threads through this seminal event in American history. Through his exposition of largely ignored events he affords us a clearer, much more succinct picture of antebellum America…Fleming's scholarship digs further into the prevailing Southern and Northern attitudes and mores of the period to draw into sharper relief the more widespread concerns, political and public, behind the Civil War…Certainly this book will provoke controversy of some manner, but we can ill afford to take as gospel truth what has typically been passed off as general history…A Disease in the Public Mind is not simply a thoughtful read, it is another call never to forget our sordid past, to face and conquer our fears.”


Wall Street Journal, 5/25/13

“A great deal of fine scholarship…Mr. Fleming more than supports his arguments…Well-researched and well-written…[A] superbly revisionist book.”

American History, August 2013

“Thoughtful and provocative…The prewar arc of divisive national self-destruction he describes looks eerily, unhappily familiar today.”


ForeWard, Summer 2013