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Edge of the Sword

The Ordeal of Carpetbagger Marshall H. Twitchell in the Civil War and Reconstruction

326 pages / 6.00 x 9.00 inches / 17 Halftones, 3 Maps

Civil War

  Paperback / 9780807130230 / October 2004

Ted Tunnell's superbly researched biography of Marshall H. Twitchell is a major addition to Reconstruction literature. New England native, Union soldier, Freedmen's Bureau agent, and Louisiana planter, Twitchell became the radical political boss of Red River Parish in the 1870s. He forged an economic alliance with entrepreneurial Jewish merchants and rose to power during the first upswing of the southern economy after the war. The Panic of 1873, however, undermined his regime and virtually overnight the New Englander quickly went from financial benefactor to scapegoat for northwest Louisiana's failed dreams of prosperity. His life-and-death struggle with the notorious White League has more gut-wrenching suspense than most novels. The first full-length study of Twitchell, Edge of the Swordis edifying, entertaining, and cutting-edge scholarship. 

Ted Tunnell, a professor of history at Virginia Commonwealth University, is the editor of Carpetbagger from Vermont: The Autobiography of Marshall Harvey Twitchell and the author of Crucible of Reconstruction, War, Radicalism, and Race in Louisiana, 1862–1877.

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