The Field of Blood
by Joanne B. Freeman
Air Date/Time November 10, 3:30 pm (Central)
1st ed., 480 pages, hardcover, Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Available from Abraham Lincoln Book Shop, please call 312-944-3085 to order your copy.
In The Field of Blood, Joanne B. Freeman recovers the long-lost story of physical violence on the floor of the U.S. Congress. She shows that the Capitol was rife with conflict in the decades before the Civil War. Legislative sessions were often punctuated by mortal threats, canings, flipped desks, and all-out slugfests. When debate broke down, congressmen drew pistols and waved Bowie knives. Many were beaten and bullied in an attempt to intimidate them into compliance, particularly on the issue of slavery. Freeman’s dramatic accounts of brawls and thrashings tell a larger story of how fisticuffs and journalism, and the powerful emotions they elicited, raised tensions between North and South and led toward war.