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In 1863, Union forces surrounded the city of Charleston. Their vice-like grip on the harbor would hold the city hostage for nearly two years, becoming the longest siege in the history of modern warfare. But for almost two centuries prior, a singular ideology forged among the headstrong citizens of Charleston had laid a different sort of siege to the entire American South--the promulgation of brutal, deplorable, and immensely profitable institution of slavery. In America's Longest Siege, Joseph Kelly examines the nation's long struggle with its "peculiar institution" through the hotly contested debates in the city at the center of the slave trade. From the earliest slave rebellions to the Nullification crisis to the final, tragic act of secession that doomed both the city and the South as a whole, Kelly captures the toxic mix of nationalism, paternalism, and unprecedented wealth that made Charleston the focus of the nationwide debate over slavery.



About the Author

Joseph Kelly

Joseph Kelly was born in New York, went to school in Houston, Dallas, and Austin, and now lives in Charleston, South Carolina, where he teaches literature and Irish studies at the College of Charleston. His first book, "Our Joyce: From Outcast to Icon," recounts history of James Joyce's influence on American culture, including the famous trial, The United States v. One Book Called "Ulysses." "America's Longest Siege," a History Book Club selection, follows the gradual, siege-like spread of the nation's most pernicious idea--that slavery is a positive good for whites and blacks--tracing it from its roots in Charleston till it invested nearly the entire South. Currently he is writing a book on the forgotten heroes of the Jamestown settlement, the dissenters, mutineers, and rebels who first experimented with the ideals of liberty and the pursuit of happiness.



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