Jefferson Davis, Unconquerable HeartBook - 1999
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 and masterfully flashes back to his earlier life, interweaving Davis's private life as a schoolboy, a Mississippi planter, a husband, a father, and 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 and senator, and his term as president of the Confederate States of America.
Although Davis's family is the nexus of this biography, friends and enemies also play major roles. Among his friends intimately met in this book are such stellar figures as Andrew Jackson, John C. Calhoun, Zachary Taylor, Franklin Pierce, Albert Sidney Johnston, and Robert E. Lee.
With the use of contemporary accounts and Davis's own correspondence, Jefferson Davis, Unconquerable Heart casts new light upon this remarkable man, thawing the icy image of Davis in many previous accounts. Felicity Allen shows a strong, yet gentle man; a stern soldier who loved horses, guns, poetry, and children; a master of the English language, with a dry wit; a man of powerful feelings who held them in such tight control that he was considered cold; and a home-loving Mississippian who was drawn into a vortex of national events and eventual catastrophe. At all times, "duty, honor, country" ruled his mind. Davis's Christian view of life runs like a thread throughout the book, binding together his devotion to God, his family, and the land.
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, and the consistency of his beliefs make this historical figure eminently worth knowing.
Allen, an independent scholar, begins this extensive biography of Jefferson Davis with his political imprisonment at the end of the Civil War. She flashes back to his earlier life as a schoolboy, a Mississipi planter, a husband, a father, and a military and political leader. Drawing upon contemporary accounts and Davis's own correspondence, she counteracts the icy image presented in other accounts, revealing how at all times duty, honor, and country ruled his mind, and how the home-loving Mississippian was drawn into a vortex of national events and eventual catastrophe. Contains several b&w photographs. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)