War to the Knife: Bleeding Kansas, 1854-1861

Synopsis

Long before the secession crisis at Fort Sumter ignited the War between the States, men fought and died on the prairies of Kansas over the incendiary issue of slavery. "War to the knife and knife to the hilt," cried the Atchison Squatter Sovereign.

In 1854 a shooting war developed between proslavery men from Missouri and free-staters in Kansas over control of the territory. The prize was whether Kansas would become a slave or a free state when admitted to the Union, a question that could decide the balance of power in Washington. War to the Knife is an absorbing account of a bloody episode in our nation's past, told in the unforgettable words of the men and women involved: Robert E. Lee, William Tecumseh Sherman, Sara Robinson, Jeb Stuart, Abraham Lincoln, William F. Cody, and John Brown-hailed as a prophet by some, denounced as a madman by others.

Because the conflict soon spread east, events in "Bleeding Kansas" have largely been forgotten. But as historian Thomas Goodrich reveals in this compelling saga, what America's "first civil war" lacked in numbers, it more than made up for in ferocity.

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