"Story of the coming of the American Civil War through the voices and from the viewpoints of thirteen principal players in the drama ... : [Thomas] Jefferson, [Henry] Clay, [Stephen A.] Douglas, [Jefferson] Davis, [Abraham] Lincoln, Nat Turner, William Lloyd Garrison, John C. Calhoun, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Beecher Stowe, George Fitzhugh, John Brown, and Mary Boykin Chesnut"--Jacket. Combining meticulous historical research with innovative storytelling, the author narrates the approach of the Civil War through dramatic first-person monologues, which give the events a powerful emotional impact and sense of immediacy and freshness impossible to achieve in a detached third-person voice. In writing the dramatic monologues, Oates drew on the actual words of his speakers- their letters, speeches, interviews, recollections, and other recorded utterances- and then simulated how, if they were reminiscing aloud, they would describe the crucial events in which they were the principle actors or witnesses. All the events and themes in the monologues adhere to the actual historical record. The result is a book that brings the personalities and events of the coming Civil War vividly alive. -- from Book Jacket.