Ecstatic Nation

September 23rd, 2013
When we look at the vast expanse of history, we find that their are periods when the world seemingly shifted on its axis: When change is dramatic, when our whole way of looking at and understanding events changes.  Perhaps the 60’s was such a period, perhaps we are in such a period today.  The impact of technology, globalization, deindustrialization social, cultural and economic change.  Only history will be able to give us that answer.

What we are learning though, is that the period of time leading up to the Civil War, the war itself, and the reconstruction that followed, was such a period.  It gave rise to events that created tectonic shifts, and was populated by characters whose special quality secures their place in history.

This is the period written about by Brenda Wineapple in Ecstatic Nation: Confidence, Crisis, and Compromise, 1848-1877.
My conversation with Brenda Wineapple: