The Field of Blood: Violence in Congress and the Road to Civil War

The Field of Blood: Violence in Congress and the Road to Civil War Review

The previously untold story of the violence in Congress that helped spark the Civil War

In The Field of Blood, Joanne Freeman recovers the long-lost story of physical violence on the floor of the U.S. Congress. Drawing on an extraordinary range of sources, Freeman shows that the Capitol was rife with conflict in the decades before the Civil War. Legislative sessions often were punctuated with mortal threats, canings, flipped desks, and all-out slugfests. When debate broke down, congressmen drew pistols and waved Bowie knives. One representative even killed another in a duel. Many were beaten and bullied in an attempt to intimidate them into compliance, particularly on the issue of slavery.

These fights didn't happen in a vacuum. Freeman's dramatic accounts of brawls and thrashings tell a larger story of how fisticuffs and journalism, and the powerful emotions they elicited, raised tensions between North and South and led toward war. In the process, she brings the antebellum Congress to life, revealing its rough realities--the feel, sense, and sound of it--as well as its nation-shaping import. Funny, tragic, and rivetingly told, The Field of Blood offers a front-row view of congressional mayhem, and sheds new light on the careers of John Quincy Adams, Henry Clay, and other luminaries, as well as introducing a host of lesser-known but no less fascinating men. The result is a fresh understanding of the workings of American democracy and the bonds of Union on the eve of their greatest peril.

Title:The Field of Blood: Violence in Congress and the Road to Civil War

    Some Testimonial About This Book:

  • Bill  Kerwin

    I watched every minute of the Kavanaugh hearings, appalled at the procedural bullying of the Republicans, the cries of anguish from the female protestors, and I said to myself: could the atmosphere in...

  • Anne Morgan

    Joanne B. Freeman's The Field of Blood: Violence in Congress and the Road to Civil War is an entertaining, well researched, and well-written examination of physical violence in U.S. Congress in the de...

  • Sasha

    First I would like to state that I received this book through the Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. I would like to thank the author for giving me this opportunity and honor in bein...

  • Michael Webb

    For a record of the activities of Congress in the period before and leading up to the Civil War, this succeeds in being a breezy and engaging read without sacrificing scholarship along the way. Freema...

  • Stephen Morrissey

    Joanne Freeman delivers a sweeping, vivid, and colorful history of the bruised and bloody days of the antebellum Congress, stretching from the Jackson years through the firing on Fort Sumter. Relayed ...

  • Casey Wheeler

    I received a free Kindle copy of The Field of Blood by Joanne B. Freeman courtesy of Net Galley  and Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, the publisher. It was with the understanding that I would post a rev...

  • Kyle

    I received an ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. Thorough and quite informative on the duress and violence in Congress leading up to the Civil War. This book goes much mo...

  • Trashy Dreams

    More interesting than entertaining, if that makes sense. I think I was hoping for a ____ vs.____ kind of thing. Instead, it was a pretty straightforward, chronological take, based mostly on French's w...

  • Casey

    A thorough examination of the threats and acts of violence by congressmen in the decades leading up to the civil war. I was impressed by the author's ability to find the historical records detailing t...

  • Jessica Jackson

    As a public historian/tour guide at the US Capitol, I will cherish this incredibly well-researched book as new foundation stone in my effort to educate the public about the tumultuous history of Congr...