LINCOLN'S LAST SPEECH (2015)
Lincoln's Last Speech offers insight into this critical address and its vision of a reconstructed United States. Coming two days after Robert E. Lee's surrender at Appomattox and a week after the fall of Richmond, Lincoln's speech was expected to be a victory oration. Instead, he looked to the future, discussing how best to restore the seceded states to the national government, and even endorsing limited black suffrage. Delving into the language and arguments of Lincoln's last address, Masur traces the theme of reconstruction as it developed throughout his presidency, starting with the very earliest days of the war.
"Magisterial. . .Masur’s in-depth research and fluid writing style enables him to make the political and constitutional history of the period come alive. In short, Masur has written a fine work of history that will be of interest to the lay reader and historian alike."
- Providence Journal
LINCOLN'S HUNDRED DAYS (2012)
Lincoln's Hundred Days is the first book to tell the full story of the critical period between September 22, 1862, when Lincoln issued his preliminary Proclamation, and January 1, 1863, when he signed the final, significantly altered, decree. In those tumultuous hundred days, as battlefield deaths mounted, debate raged.
"Louis Masur delivers an intelligent account of how Lincoln balanced politics with the goal of ending slavery... Readers will enjoy his rich, perceptive history of the passionate maneuvering that produced it."
-- Publishers Weekly 2012-07-23
THE CIVIL WAR: A CONCISE HISTORY (2011)
The Civil War: A Concise History offers a masterful and eminently readable overview of the war's multiple causes and catastrophic effects.
"For the reader uneasy with any study more than general-interest, this book is the first one that the anticipating librarian should place in such a person's hands. It is an immaculate overview that quickly gets to the heart of the matter, precisely surveying, with keen insight, the slippery slope to war's outbreak, which was paved with increasingly bitter opposing views on slavery and states' rights and territorial expansion; along the way, the concept of nullification added its own coat of slipperiness."
--Booklist, Starred Review
RUNAWAY DREAM: BORN TO RUN AND BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN'S AMERICAN VISION (2009)
Runaway Dream: Born to Run and Bruce Springsteen's American Vision chronicles the making and significance of Bruce Springsteen's masterwork, deftly sketching the ambition, history, and personalities that created an enduring work of art. A rich history of Springsteen's greatest album, celebrating its themses of youth, escape and possibility.
"In Runaway Dream, Louis P. Masur dissects the making of the album and the legacy it has left behind with the meticulous eye of a scholar and the unabashed affection of a true fan."
-- Associated Press
THE SOILING OF OLD GLORY: THE STORY OF A PHOTOGRAPH THAT SHOCKED AMERICA (2008)
The Soiling of Old Glory: The Story of a Photograph That Shocked America is an evocative “biography of a photograph” that examines why this one picture had so much impact and offers a dramatic window onto the turbulence of the 1970s and race relations in America.
"Louis Masur's skill at teasing the symbolic resonance from the photo's structure and composition is impressive, as is his treatment of the flag as national icon. He displays his real skill as a historian, however, in his remarkably clear and fair-minded synopses of tangled racial histories. Boston's certainly is one of those, and you won't find a better or more crystalline account of it than in The Soiling of Old Glory."
-- Tim Rutten, Los Angeles Times
AUTUMN GLORY: BASEBALL'S FIRST WORLD SERIES (2003)
In 1903, the owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates (in the well-established National League) challenged the Boston Americans (in the upstart American League) to a play-off, which he was sure his team would win. They didn't—and that wasn't the only surprise during what became the first World Series. In Autumn Glory, Louis P. Masur tells the riveting story of two agonizing weeks in which the stars blew it, unknown players stole the show, hysterical fans got into the act, and umpires had to hold on for dear life.
"This is a book that every baseball fan will enjoy. History-minded Americans will love it, too. It's a marvelous look at the Americans of 1903. What a great way to celebrate the one-hundredth anniversary of the World Series!"
--Thomas Fleming, author of The New Dealers' War: F.D.R. and the War Within World War II
1831: YEAR OF ECLIPSE (2001)
1776, 1861, 1929. Any high-school student should know what these years meant to American history. But wars and economic disasters are not our only pivotal events, and other years have, in a quieter way, swayed the course of our nation. 1831 was one of them, and in this striking new work, Louis Masur shows us exactly how.
"It was the year of Nat Turner's slave rebellion, of the launching of Garrison's Liberator, of Tocqueville's visit to the United States, of Cyrus McCormick's invention of the mechanical reaper, and of many other pivotal events. Annus mirabilis, 1831 became the hinge of fate for the future of America, both good and ill. Louis Masur has captured the flavor of this crucial year in this captivating book."
--James M. McPherson
RITES OF EXECUTION: CAPITAL PUNISHMENT AND THE TRANSFORMATION OF AMERICAN CULTURE 1776-1865 (1989)
This study examines the conflict over capital punishment in the United States and the way it transformed American culture between the revolution and the Civil War, relating the shift in rituals of punishment and attitudes toward discipline to the emergence of middle class culture.
"If the past can speak to the present, no recent book about nineteenth-century American speaks more clearly than Rites of Execution ... [It] is the work of a historian ingenious with sources, rich in imagination and mature in judgment."
-- The Nation