By: John C. Waugh

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Personalities. Characters. History. John C. Waugh, author of the award-winning The Class of 1846, presents forty of the most memorable and impactful people he has come across during his decades of writing about the Civil War-or as he calls them, his "Unforgettables." Waugh's unique pen and spritely style bring to life a mix of the famous and the infamous, the little-known, and the unremembered. He reintroduces us to Abraham Lincoln the writer, Jefferson Davis the losing president, and their fascinating and influential wives, Mary and Varina. Henry Clay, John C. Calhoun, and Daniel Webster ("three for the ages") are juxtaposed with Presidents Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, and James Buchanan-four chief executives who failed to avert the coming war. Military personalities include U. S. Grant and R. E. Lee, with a nod to their mentor, the nearly forgotten Winfield Scott. Waugh cast a wide net to include "the seekers of equality," African Americans Sojourner Truth and Lincoln's friend Frederick Douglass, a half dozen women like Maria Mayo, Kate Chase, and Anna Dickinson who helped shape our understanding of cultural issues, and media maven Horace Greeley and full-time Washington critic and pest, Count Adam Gurowski. Poet and political activist Muriel Rukeyser once wrote, "The universe is made of stories, not of atoms." She might have added that these stories are driven by the passions of their characters and are what history is all about. "My hope," explains the author, "is that these sketches and word portraits rekindle that passion and hook a few non-believers on the undeniable drama that is history."

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Savas Beatie

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