A Review of Days of Defiance by Maury Klein

By Daniel Bonder
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2017, All Rights Reserved

Author’s note: The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable encourages members to submit book reviews. This assists members and those from other roundtables in choosing worthwhile reading from the thousands of books available on the Civil War. A while back, an anonymous member of the Cincinnati Civil War Roundtable wrote an interesting and informative review of the book A World on Fire: Britain’s Crucial Role in the American Civil War by Amanda Foreman. It caught my attention, and I recently completed an enjoyable reading of this book. I feel that the best way to thank that member and the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable is to write a book review as well.

Days of Defiance: Sumter, Secession, and the Coming of the Civil War by Maury Klein was published in 1997. Its heavily footnoted 430 pages trace the run-up to the Civil War. The vast majority of the book focuses on the time period from Lincoln’s election through the fall of Fort Sumter. There are flashbacks to several important historical events that helped to set the stage for secession. These included the election of James Buchanan, whose inaction and lack of leadership in the face of the gathering storm left little room for any other outcome but war.

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