In the spring of 1844, a fiery political conflict erupted over the admission of Texas into the Union. This hard-fought and bitter controversy profoundly changed the course of American history. Indeed, as Joel Silbey argues in Storm Over Texas, it marked the crucial moment when partisan differences were transformed into a North-vs-South antagonism, and the momentum towards Civil War leaped into high gear.
Silbey, one of America's most renowned political historians, offers a swiftly paced and compelling narrative of the Texas imbroglio, which included an exceptional cast of characters, from John C. Calhoun and John Quincy Adams, to James K. Polk and Martin Van Buren. We see how a series of unexpected moves, some planned, some inadvertent, sparked a crisis that intensified and crystallized the North-South divide. Sectionalism, Silbey shows, had often been intense, but rarely widespread and generally well contained by other forces. After Texas statehood, it became a driving force in national affairs, ultimately leading to Southern secession and Civil War.
With subtlety, great care, and much imagination, Joel Silbey shows that this brief political struggle became, in the words of an Alabama congressman, "the greatest question of the age" - and a pivotal moment in American history.
The “Pivotal Moments in American History” series seeks to unite the old and the new history, combining the insights and techniques of recent historiography with the power of traditional narrative. Each title has a strong narrative arc with drama, irony, suspense, and – most importantly – great characters who embody the human dimension of historical events. The general editors of “Pivotal Moments” are not just historians; they are popular writers themselves, and, in two cases, Pulitzer Prize winners: David Hackett Fischer, James M. McPherson, and David Greenberg. We hope you like your American History served up with verve, wit, and an eye for the telling detail!
This book would have been more accurately titled, "The Van Buren Faction in the Democratic Party of the 1830s and 1840s, and How it Occassionally Relates to the Annexation of Texas." Texas annexation is completed about halfway through the book, yet the author continues to goes on and on about the "Hunkers" versus the "Barnburners" (don't ask). Perhaps the author got a book contact and decided to economize on his effort by incorporating material from previous works. That being said, the first half of the book is pretty interesting, and may be worth it if you get it on sale, as I did.
10 of 11 people found this review helpful
In this volume, Joel Silbey turns his attention to the annexation of Texas by the Union. He argues that this was a prime turning point in the nation's history and the movement to the Civil War. Hisotorians, professional and otherwise, may disagree with Silbey's anlysis, but it is informative. Individuals interested in Texas history will benefit as well. The writing is clear and the reading of John H. Mayer is very good.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?
Barely worthwhile. Nothing new here.
Would you recommend Storm Over Texas to your friends? Why or why not?
Only if they are new to the topic.
What about John H. Mayer’s performance did you like?
If this book were a movie would you go see it?
Any additional comments?
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
This is a very good, concise work on a period of political history with which Americans really should be more familiar. The reading is quite good. However, the title could be slightly misleading and you should be aware of the book's limited purview. This is almost entirely a political history, focussing on the evolution of party politics, sectionalism, and the slave issue in the period before and after the Texas annexation. There is surprisingly little--indeed, almost nothing--on the Mexican War or events on the ground in Texas itself. However, it is illuminating on its own terms, makes a reasonably good audiobook, and I found it quite gratifying to refresh my detestation of Calhoun and Polk, who comes off sounding a bit like a Bush prototype. My favorite part of the book was a fulminating quote by a Whig politician predicting the utter degradation and ruin of the union should Texas ever be admitted. He didn't know the half of it!
11 of 17 people found this review helpful