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For America, the mid-nineteenth century was an era of vast expectation and expansion: the country dreamed big, craved new lands, developed new technologies, and after too long a delay, finally confronted its greatest moral failure: slavery. Award-winning historian and literary critic Brenda Wineapple explores these feverish, ecstatic, conflicted years when Americans began to live within new and ever-widening borders, both spiritual and geographic; fought a devastating war over parallel ideals of freedom and justice; and transformed their country, at tragic cost, from a confederation into one nation, indivisible.
A masterful synthesis of political, cultural, and intellectual history, breathtaking in sweep and scope, Ecstatic Nation is a spellbinding tale of America its glory and greed, its aspirations and humiliations in this exhilarating and momentous period.