Star-Spangled Eden by James C Simmons

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Star-Spangled Eden: 19th Century America

by James C Simmons

In the fifty years from 1830 to 1880, out of the rowdy optimism of the Jacksonian era and the tragic ruptures of the Civil War, America transformed itself into a modern nation. Within those five decades its frontier, a continent wide and wild, disappeared, but not before it had been experienced by British travelers as varied as Charles Dickens, whose "quarrel with America" assumed epic proportions, and Oscar Wilde, who fell wittily in love with the young country's vitality and diversity.

This illuminating social and political, history also includes accounts of the visits made by Frances Trollope, whose acid tome on barbarous Cincinnati made her a London literary sensation in 1832, and the celebrated English actress Fanny Kemble, whose two years on a Georgia plantation made her a confirmed abolitionist. Equally revelatory are the 1846 visit to the Colorado Territory, then a pristine wilderness, by George Ruxton and, only fourteen years later, Richard Burton's stagecoach ride across the Great Plains, where the buffalo had by then virtually disappeared.

In bold narrative style, the book also follows William Howard Russell, the London Times correspondent who covered the outbreak of the Civil War, and chronicles the colorful adventures of Frank Harris as a real-life Texas cowboy. Like all, his amazing tale brings new light to the dawn of modern America.