McFarland Civil War Book of the Week: William Henry Seward and the Secession Crisis: The Effort to Prevent Civil War

by Brett Schulte on March 9, 2011 · 0 comments

William Henry Seward and the Secession Crisis: The Effort to Prevent Civil War

Author: Lawrence M. Denton

TOCWOC’s Take:
William Henry Seward and the Secession Crisis: The Effort to Prevent War focuses on Seward’s efforts to prevent the Civil War from occurring during the Secession Winter of 1860-61.  The author believes Seward might have prevented the war altogether had he, rather than Abraham Lincoln, been elected President.  Counterfactuals, though dismissed in some circles, have always been fun and fascinating exercises for me.  In the book’s appendix, the author discusses why and how Seward might have prevented the war as President-Elect.  The meat of the book, though,covers in detail Seward’s work around the country to prevent war by using his extraordinary number of political contacts, his political experience, his personality, and his close working relationship with his powerful political partner Thurlow Weed.  Denton believes Lincoln failed because he lacked experience, connections, and tended to make his decisions alone, without the advice of others.  William Henry Seward and the Secession Crisis: The Effort to Prevent War is admittedly pro-Seward and anti-Lincoln, but provides a new look at one of the most important winters in American history by focusing on one of the most powerful individuals at the eye of the storm.

Book Info from McFarland Web Site:

About the Book

While Abraham Lincoln was taking center stage in a divided country, a political rival-turned-ally was exerting a major influence on national affairs. William Henry Seward, U.S. senator and former New York governor, lost the Republican Party nomination but aided Lincoln by touring the country on behalf of the Republican ticket. As Southern states prepared to withdraw from the Union, Secretary of State Seward sought to reunite the country. This biography explores Seward’s political power and the theory that, as president, he might have prevented the Civil War.

About the Author

Lawrence M. Denton of Oxford, Maryland, is an author and lecturer on the secession crisis in Maryland. A former academic administrator at Johns Hopkins University and a presidential appointee of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, he also helped produce the television series Forecast Earth.

Click here to read more at the McFarland web site…

More Views of the Book:

In, addition, I’d like to point readers to some of those reviews here at the end of my own look at the book:

Buy the Book Online

ISBN: 978-0-7864-4428-1

Publisher: McFarland & Company (

Release Date: July 1, 2009

Price: $29.95

Order Line: 800-253-2187

Other Info: 18 photos, appendix, notes, bibliography, index 227 pp. softcover 2009


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