Jefferson Davis, Unconquerable Heart


Preeminent Civil War historian Frank Vandiver always longed to see an interpretive biography of Jefferson Davis. Finally, more than twenty years after Vandiver expressed that wish, publication of Jefferson Davis, Unconquerable Heart makes such an interpretive biography available. Felicity Allen begins this monumental work with Davis's political imprisonment at the end of the Civil War & masterfully flashes back to his earlier life, interweaving Davis's private life as a schoolboy, a Mississippi planter, a husband, a father, & a political leader. She follows him from West Point through army service on the frontier, his election to the U.S. House of Representatives, his regimental command in the Mexican War, his service as U.S. secretary of war & senator, & his term as president of the Confederate States of America. Although Davis's family is the nexus of this biography, friends & enemies also play a major role. Among his friends fully explored in this book are such political greats as Andrew Jackson, John C. Calhoun, Zachary Taylor, Franklin Pierce, & Robert E. Lee. With the use of contemporary accounts & Davis's own correspondence, Jefferson Davis, Unconquerable Heart casts new light upon this remarkable man, thawing the icy image of Davis in previous accounts. Felicity Allen shows a strong, yet gentle man; a stern soldier who loved horses, guns, poetry, & children; a master of the English language; a man of powerful feelings who held them in such tight control that he was considered cold; & a home-loving Mississippian who was drawn into a vortex of national events & eventual catastrophe. Davis's Christian view of life runs like a thread throughout the book as shown by his devotion to his family, to the land, & to God. "Duty, honor, country" always occupied Davis's mind. Jefferson Davis, Unconquerable Heart brings Davis to life in a way that has never been done before. The variety of his experience, the breadth of his learning, & the consistency of his beliefs make this historical figure eminently worth knowing.


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