From the publisher:
1861 is an epic of courage and heroism beyond the battlefields. Early in that fateful year, Americans began to rally around an idea of remaking the country into a morally coherent stronghold of liberty. This second American revolution inspired a new generation to reject their parents’ faith in compromise and appeasement, to do the unthinkable in the name of an ideal.
The book introduces us to a heretofore little-known cast of Civil War heroes—among them, an acrobatic militia colonel, an explorer’s wife, a close-knit band of German immigrants, a regiment of New York City firemen, and a young college professor who would one day become president. Adam Goodheart takes us from the halls of the Capitol to the slums of Manhattan, from the mouth of the Chesapeake to the deserts of Nevada, from Boston Common to Alcatraz Island, vividly evoking the Union at this moment of ultimate crisis and decision.