“Exhilarating … inspiring … irresistible … ‘1861’ creates the uncanny illusion that the reader has stepped into a time machine.”
— New York Times Book Review (cover review)

“Hardly a page of this books lacks an important insight or a fact that beguiles the readers. … Goodheart shows us that even at 150 years’ distance there are new voices, and new stories, to be heard about the Civil War.”
— Boston Globe (cover review)

“Doing what David McCullough’s 1776 did for the American Revolution, Goodheart’s book delivers a remarkably original and gripping account of the year the Civil War began.”
— History Book Club

“Beautifully written and thoroughly original—quite unlike any other Civil War book out there.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review) [read more]

“Engrossing …. Tension is palpable on every page …. Goodheart’s book is an impressive accomplishment, a delightful read, and a valuable contribution that will entertain and challenge.”
Harvard Magazine [read more]

“Adam Goodheart is a Monet with a pen instead of a paintbrush. Like an impressionist painting, 1861 reveals layers of meaning and beauty as one studies it closely.”
— James M. McPherson, Pulitzer Prize winner; author of Battle Cry of Freedom

“1861 is the best book I have ever read on the start of the Civil War. Sumter, secession, and Lincoln appear in a wonderfully fresh and illuminating light, supported by a cast of extraordinary players that few Americans know about.  Penetrating, eloquent, and deeply moving, this is a classic introduction to the nation’s greatest conflict.”
— Tony Horwitz, Pulitzer Prize winner; author of Confederates in the Attic

“With boundless verve, Adam Goodheart has sketched an uncommonly rich tableau of America on the cusp of the Civil War. The research is impeccable, the cast of little-known characters we are introduced to is thoroughly fascinating, the book is utterly thought-provoking, and the story is luminescent. What a triumph.”
— Jay Winik, author of April 1865 and The Great Upheaval

“Combining a master historian’s sure command of original sources and a novelist’s deft touch with character and narrative, Adam Goodheart has produced the young century’s liveliest book about how a generation of remarkable and ordinary Americans alike variously provoked, resisted, and endured the dissolution of their country and the tragic march toward civil war…. The result is that rarest of history books: a work of remarkable original scholarship crafted into an irresistible read.”
— Harold Holzer, chairman of The Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation

“Adam Goodheart brings to this book a rare combination of talent: passion and precision as a historian, grace and generosity as a writer. 1861 puts us in the young nation that was about to shed its skin and begin life as something new.”
—Richard Ben Cramer, winner of the Pulitzer Prize

“1861 isn’t merely a work of history; it’s a time-travel device that makes a century and a half fall away and sets us down, eyes and ears wide open, in the midst of the chaos and the glory.”
— Anne Fadiman, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award