The Field of Blood | Joanne B. Freeman | MacmillanGoodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again.
The Field of Blood
The previously untold story of the violence in Congress that helped spark the Civil War. Freeman recovers the long-lost story of physical violence on the floor of the U. Drawing on an extraordinary range of sources, 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. One representative even killed another in a duel.
Historian and former nun Karen Armstrong argues that violence and war have as much to do with inequality and nationalism as with religion. But is she too selective in her evidence? It is probably safe to assume that anyone reading this has either heard or uttered some variation of the line about religion being the cause of more suffering and war than anything other human institution.
Religious ones cannot. It follows that the main hope for peace is to keep faith and statecraft separate. The page-by-page detail of the book is much of the reason to read it, but if you reduced its complexities and tangles to their essence, they would amount to these three points:. First, through most of human history, people have chosen to intertwine religion with all their other activities, including, notably, how they are governed. Second, this involvement with politics means that religions have often been tied up with violence: Crusaders, conquistadors, jihadists and many more. But — a point Armstrong cares about so much that she makes it dozens of times — the violence almost always originates with the state and spills over to religion, rather than vice versa.