Books by Bruce Chadwick

Bruce Chadwick, Ph.D., lectures in American history at Rutgers University while also teaching writing at New Jersey City University. He is a former journalist and the author of four other historical books: Brother against Brother: The Lost Civil War Diari

Released: Feb. 4, 2014

"An enjoyable, gossipy book exploring the birth and the rebirth of the nation."
Another entry in the always-fascinating stories of Dolley and James Madison, showing the broad influence they had on American history. Read full book review >
Released: May 1, 2009

"Not just a history lesson, but an examination of the fundamental ideas that gave birth to the United States."
Well-told account of the debate that shaped the American system of government. Read full book review >
Released: April 1, 2008

"For the general reader, an account of a president who fiddled while the ingredients for a major conflagration assembled before his eyes."
An idiosyncratic survey of the American political scene as the clouds gathered for Civil War. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 20, 2006

"A deft portrait of the Washington team, building a life together and, eventually, a new nation."
At home with George and Martha, America's first First Family. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 26, 2001

"What could have been an insightful examination of the nature of a popular art and the duration of a classic is instead a massively researched but ultimately pedestrian history paper. (42 photos, not seen)"
The ripe topic of how filmmakers mythologized the Civil War is manhandled into pedantic submission in this well-organized but dreary film history. Read full book review >
Released: June 1, 1998

Chadwick (Brother Against Brother, 1997) recounts what are by now well-known details in the lives of Lincoln, the prairie stalwart, and Davis, the gentleman farmer from Mississippi, who respectively led the United States and the Confederate States during the Civil War. His conclusion: that the two leaders were different, and that their personalities influenced the outcome of the conflict. Lincoln was stern, austere, in control of his emotions, although —ambition burned in him like an incandescent candle.— Davis, mercurial and violence-prone, was —a steaming cauldron,— although he —was governing as a humanitarian interested in preserving individual liberties and running the army as an enlightened commander.— Stir in cannons, and you have Appomattox. Chadwick does hit on a note of interest, for just a moment, when he briefly examines the unfolding scholarly literature on various attempts by the two leaders to have each other assassinated (one thinks of Kennedy and Castro); he cites Federal papers captured by Confederates at Richmond that ordered the immediate execution of Davis and his cabinet, and he suggests that John Wilkes Booth was under Davis's orders, but only to kidnap Lincoln from the Ford Theatre. Chadwick's unapologetic reversion to the Great Man theory of history will not impress professional historians, who have long since attributed to other causes'superior firepower, control of the seas—the eventual Union victory over the secessionists. Neither, because the book is so poorly written, will it likely impress Civil War buffs, who will already have almost all the information Chadwick presents. Relentlessly disappointing. (24 pages photos, not seen) Read full book review >