This compelling, highly readable book focuses on the men who shaped the events that led to secession and the Civil War. Secessionists tore at the bonds that bound Americans to one another and their government as they maligned Northerners and found sinister intent in federal policy. But equally as adamant on the opposite side were the determined abolitionists and others in the North who sought to hold the Union together. Tariffs, the loss of political power, and the antislavery movement were all taking their toll on the South, but it took specific individuals and groups to bring to action the causes they believed in and thus to alter the course of history. The Men of Secession and Civil War, 1859-1861 traces the period from John Brown's 1859 Harper's Ferry raid to the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter and the subse-quent secession of the Upper South states in April 1861. The cast of characters in this book includes abolitionists John Brown and Salmon P. Chase; President Abraham Lincoln; U.S. Senator Stephen Douglas; Andrew Johnson, whom Lincoln named his vice president in 1864; secessionists Jefferson Davis, Roger Taney, and Barnwell Rhett; John Breckenridge, the 1860 presidential nominee of the Southern Democratic Party; and Tennessee Senator John Bell. The Men of Secession and Civil War is a useful volume for Civil War courses.