Book about John C. Breckinridge

DavidM

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Joined
May 17, 2020
I was looking at a biography online called "Breckinridge: Statesman, Soldier, Symbol" by William C. Davis. Has anyone here read it, and what are your thoughts on it?

A follow-up question to that would be - give me your best reasons why Breckinridge is worthy of a biography and why someone might want to consider reading one about him. Admittedly, I don't know a lot about him, and thought I might want to learn more, but I am also trying to be practical, knowing that I can't buy and read every single book on the Civil War and Reconstruction, and that things have to come down to a prioritized list.

[By the way, don't assume, based on my first 2 posts to this site, that I am: 1) exclusively or primarily interested in the Confederacy; or 2) that I only read books by William C. Davis 🙂]
 

DavidM

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Joined
May 17, 2020
Thanks Donna. I just now saw another thread where you mentioned why you thought favorably of him.
 
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jackt62

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Jul 28, 2015
Location
New York City
I read the biography. Davis is a prolific CW writer, and all his books that I have read have been very informative and well written, including Breckenridge. As far as Breckenridge being worthy of a biography, I would answer that he was a crucial figure from the time he ran for President in 1860, through his hesitation to leaving his native Kentucky to fight with the Confederacy, through his generalship at a large number of important CW engagements, and finally to his concluding assignment as the last Confederate Secretary of War. He was unique in that he played a large number of wide roles in the political and military history of that time.
 

JeffBrooks

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Aug 20, 2009
Location
Manor, TX
I would put the book in my list of the ten best biographies I have ever read, and not just about Civil War figures. I think the main reason there hasn't been a biography of Breckinridge since is because William C. Davis did such a great job with this book. Davis, incidentally, is a good guy whom I have heard speak more than once and who has always generously responded to my email questions about Breckinridge and other topics.

As for why Breckinridge deserves a biography. . . he was one of the most important figures of the period and seeing the political and military events - before, during, and after the war - unfold through his eyes gives us a dazzling view of what happened and helps us understand it.

Full disclosure, I like Breckinridge a lot and made him the central character of my novella Blessed are the Peacemakers and my novel House of the Proud.
 

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