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BOOK REVIEWS The Stakes of Power, 1845-1877. By Roy F. Nichols. (New York: HiU and Wang, 1961. Pp. x, 246. $4.50.) Tms volume is the fourth in "The Making of America" series. Emphasis in this series is upon interpretation, synthesis, and summation. Ninety pages—considerably more than a third of the smaU volume—are devoted to the prewar years, and here Nichols is at his best. Author of such books as The Democratic Machine, 1850-1854 (1923), Franklin Pierce (1931), and Disruption of American Democracy (1948) , Nichols knows both the history and the historical hterature of this era thoroughly. He sees the prewar period as a struggle for poUtical and economic power—a contest which broke down the democratic processes. That struggle for poUtical power turned into a miUtary conflict—summarized in cursory fashion in but fifty-seven pages. Lincoln emerges as a master poUtician, winner of the struggle for power within the Republican party and a pivotal figure in "the evolution of a new structure of power, both miUtary and poUtical . . . ." Civil War cultists wül be piqued at what is left out; it is difficult to quarrel with the contentions and facts included. The struggle-for-power theme is carried into the postwar years with "new business operators," the "new" RepubUcan party, reform movements, and postwar Democrats being enemies or aUies. Some critics wiU complain that Nichols rides his struggle-for-power thesis too hard. It, however, serves as a cement to bind the three eras together and to give unity to the 1845-77 period. The ideas and idealism of those years are practicaUy sidetracked as realism, poUtical and economic, reigns supreme. Errors of fact are few and far between, and the author's contentions are sound. This is history at its best. The fiterary style is "seasoned" with scholarship ; those who feed upon the menu served by Catton or Nevins may protest at the hardier fare. The bibUographical suggestions, confined to ten pages at the end of the text, are superb. Frank L. Klement Marquette University Crucial Moments of the Civil War. By Willard Webb. (New York: Fountainhead Publishers, 1961. $750.) Seldom have i approached a book with more pleasurable anticipation than this one, and rarely have I been so bitterly disappointed. From a man of 460 ...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
p. 460
Launched on MUSE
2013-01-02
Open Access
No
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