THE YEAR OF THE CENTURY: 1876 by Dee Brown


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At 12 o'clock we were all called out to listen to the most extraordinary noise over heard. It had been arranged that at that hour every bell, whistle or other instrument that would make a noise should be put into requisition."" It was New Year's Eve, 1876, the great Centennial year and the country was in an uproar. In Philadelphia the monumental Centennial Exposition was under way, in Washington President Grant was barely recovering from the machinations of the ""Whiskey Ring"" and the Belknap scandal. In New York audiences were being ignited by the evangelical invocations of Dwight L. Moody who aimed to ""reduce the population of hell by one million souls."" Easterners were also busy being shocked by the Suffrage sisterhood. Meanwhile, in the west, Custer was making a last stand, the infamous brother sets- Younger, James etc., were becoming myths, Buffalo Bill was dueling with Yellow Hand, Wild Bill was dealing his last card and Belle Starr was Big Mama. Mark Twain was in the ascendancy but just barely keeping abreast of the ""sub-literature"" which was creating ""The Western Hero"" and the Horatio Alger image. And of course the South was setting a Civil Right's pace at a slow walk while the Republicans and Democrats were engaged in a furious battle that culminated in Rutherford Hayes' unpopular election by one electoral vote. All the excitement of an era which has rarely been viewed as a whole is captured in style. A great book for any history fan. Thoroughly documented.

Pub Date: June 29th, 1966
Publisher: Scribners