Antoineonline.com : Passion and principle: john and jessie fremont, the couple whose power, politics, and love shaped nineteenth-century america (9781596910195) : Sally Denton : Books
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Passion And Principle: John And Jessie Fremont, The Couple Whose Power, Politics, And Love Shaped Nineteenth-century America

by Sally Denton
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Product Details

  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publishing date: 15/05/2007
  • Language: Français
  • ISBN-13: 9781596910195
  • ISBN: 1596910194

Synopsis

She was the daughter of powerful Missouri politician Thomas Hart Benton and was a savvy political operator who played confidante and advisor to the inner circle of the highest political powers in the country. He was a key figure in western exploration and California’s first senator, and became the first presidential candidate for the Republican Party—and the first candidate to challenge slavery. Both shaped their times and were far ahead of it, but most extraordinarily their story has never fully been told. Thanks in part to a deep-seated family quarrel between Jessie’s father and the couple, John and Jessie were eclipsed and opposed by some of the most mythic characters of their era, not least Abraham Lincoln. Award-winning historian Sally Denton restores the reputations of John and Jessie and places them where they belong—at the center of our country’s history.
Sally Denton is the author of Faith and Betrayal, American Massacre, The Bluegrass Conspiracy, and, with Roger Morris, The Money and the Power. She has been the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, two Western Heritage Awards, a Lannan Literary Grant, and the Nevada Silver Pen Award. Her award-winning investigative reporting has appeared in The New York Times, the Washington Post, and American Heritage. She lives with her three sons in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
She was the daughter of powerful Missouri politician Thomas Hart Benton and was a savvy political operator who played confidante and advisor to the inner circle of the highest political powers in the country. He was a key figure in western exploration and California’s first senator, and became the first presidential candidate for the Republican Party—and the first candidate to challenge slavery. Their story has never been told in full.  Thanks in part to a deep-seated family quarrel between Jessie’s father and the couple, John and Jessie were eclipsed and opposed by some of the most mythic characters of their era, not least Abraham Lincoln. Award-winning historian Sally Denton restores the reputations of John and Jessie and places them where they belong—at the center of our country’s history.
“Sally Denton retells the life of the Great Pathfinder from a new angle . . . A fascinating story of love and struggle . . . sheds light on a character only dimly known; few remember Jessie Fremont at all, let alone in her roles in the exploration of the West and the battle against slavery. Who knew that expansion and emancipation, the two great projects of nineteenth-century America, were so helped along by someone Lincoln once called ‘quite a female politician’?”—American Heritage
 
 “We like to think of so-called power couples as a contemporary phenomenon, but they’ve turned up with fair regularity throughout history . . . Journalist and historical writer Sally Denton’s fascinating double biography of John C. Fremont and his wife Jessie Benton, makes a convincing case that they ought to be added to the list.”—Los Angeles Times
 
“For Denton, Passion and Principle is her greatest professional triumph to date . . . Denton is one of a relative handful of popular historians who are breathing new life into sadly neglected pieces of the American experience . . . not only serious history but a good read."—Las Vegas City Life
 
“A riveting narrative about what [Denton] calls a ‘power couple’ who ‘fascinated and baffled’ the public. They are curiously modern and ‘evocative of Bill and Hillary Clinton’, Ms. Denton rightly concludes.”—The Sun
 
"A glowing biography . . . What Denton has done is to explore, with skill and style, the source of that celebrity that surrounded the Frémonts. She is a sure-footed guide through an adventure that stretches across a still-unexplored continent . . . The book is a grand story of 'passion and principle', and it is not for nothing that Denton draws parallels between the Frémonts and both George and Elizabeth Custer and, more significantly, Bill and Hillary Clinton—like the Fremonts, 'a political couple [who] fascinated and baffled the public."—The Boston Globe

"Denton tackles the story of 19th-century explorer, Civil War Union general, and (in 1856) inaugural Republican presidential nominee John Frémont and his politically influential wife, Jessie Benton Frémont. She relies heavily on primary sources such as letters, diary entries, and official government documents to untangle the convoluted and widely misperceived political careers and personal lives of her subjects. Denton's research strives to explain Jessie's role in her husband's controversial attempts to abolish slavery, and she convincingly refutes popular historiography's perception of John as fortuitously marrying into a politically powerful family and coasting on his wife's talent. The Frémonts' story stretches from the advent of Manifest Destiny through the Civil War, and Denton tells the tale well, in dense but always readable detail. This original and engaging work is sure to be a boon to historians studying Old West exploration or political entanglements and military actions leading up to the Civil War. Highly recommended for all academic and large public libraries."—Douglas King, Library Journal

"Biographies of the Pathfinder are available, so Denton strikes for originality with this detailed portrait of his marriage. John Fremont's wife, Jessie, by any standards was an extraordinary woman, especially by those of mid-nineteenth-century America. Daughter of Senator Thomas Hart Benton, she thrived on politics and did not hesitate to play her hand. The manner of her marriage was characteristic: an elopement. Jessie's decisiveness in a range of ensuing episodes animates Denton's account, whose point of view on Fremont's army career tends to be Jessie's. As he repeatedly got into political trouble, being court-martialed in 1848 and relieved of command in 1861, it fell to Jessie to plead her husband's case with presidents. He may have been the national celebrity as the western explorer, conqueror of California, and 1856 Republican Party presidential candidate, but the strength of Jessie's personality is equally prominent in this narrative; after the Civil War, for example, she mitigated the couple's dire finances with a successful authorial career. A fine dual biographer, Denton should have appeal in western and women's history."—Gilbert Taylor, Booklist
 
"Denton produces an intriguing take on the life and times of John C. Frémont, explorer of the West, traveling partner of Kit Carson, California senator, unyielding abolitionist and the Republican Party's first presidential candidate . . . This is not a conventional political biography but a portrait of the five-decade-long marriage between Frémont and Jessie, a daughter of Missouri Democratic senator Thomas Hart Benton, set against the tumultuous background of 19th-century America. It is certainly the first narrative in which Jessie Frémont is accorded equal weight, and is by far the most sympathetic—not just to her, but also to him. John, all too often depicted as a semicompetent and fraudulent megalomaniac, emerges as an immensely talented explorer, overtrusting soul and introverted scientist. Jessie's historical caricature as a hysterical shrew and control freak is sensitively tempered by Denton into a co

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  • Wonderful story of the American West
    From Amazon

    Denton does a great job of setting the record straight about the Fremonts. They were an amazing couple and contributed far more then previous historical accounts gave them. Everyone who wants to know what the founding of California was all about should read this fine book.

  • Well Worth the Read
    From Amazon

    A very interesting account of a couple whose lives and relations spanned so many important events of America's 19th century. Too often, I felt, Denton quoted from secondary source material within the text when the end notes would've sufficed. When countering long-held opinions of historians about Fremont's role in events or competence as an explorer or soldier, presentation of the views of seemed appropriate. However, at other times, the quotations and references to the works of others was burdensome. Most irritating was the lack of maps included by the publisher. Two hard-to-read maps are found at the front of the book, but no other maps were available to trace the detailed events and travels of Fremont! So much of the story deals with his exploration. Geographic details are available in the text, but without supporting maps, I was left wanting. I learned much about Jessie Fremont, and, through her relationship with her father, John, and others, about American attitudes about women in the 19th century. I learned that it was Jessie who was the the true pathfinder of the two.

  • Brings to Life the Conflicts of the mid-19th Century
    From Amazon

    His career wedged between two American titans, Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln, John C. Fremont leaps into the his rightful place in American history through this remarkable book. Fremont's idealism both helped and haunted his career. He was the first American to systematically map the Rocky Mountains and the Great Basin, and he played a key role in the Bear Flag Revolt and the conquest of California. But the "Pathfinder" often found himself too far in front of his contemporaries: his failure to adapt to the military change of command led to court martial within a year of his California exploits; his adamant opposition to slavery cost him first his senate seat and later his position as commander of the Union's Western forces in the Civil War (he issued the first Emancipation Proclamation in the state of Missouri in 1861, and Lincoln punished him harshly for this); finally, he invested the huge fortune he had made in the California gold fields in transcontinental railroad stocks, only to fail at every turn and die in poverty. No better example of both Fremont's strengths and flaws can be found than the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado: a rugged mountain chain he tried twice to traverse, ending in failure each time, the first time in the service of the U.S. Army and the second time in an vain attempt to survey a pass for a railroads through the mountains. This is the first biography I have read of Fremont, and I felt that Denton's tone was sometimes overly sympathetic. She seemed to play down obvious indications of both Fremonts' extra-marital affairs and the personality flaws that prevented Fremont from succeeding as a politician (despite runs for the presidency both in 1856 and 1864). All in all, though, Denton does a wonderful job of bringing this power couple to life. From beginning to end, I was fascinated by these two individuals and their contributions during a critical part of American history.

  • Amazing! Reads like a novel.
    From Amazon

    This book was gripping. It is the best historical book I have read. It reads like a novel. Denton's ability to provide a historical account, introduce many characters and events and keep the reader engrossed in the story is remarkable. As a person who loves to read about strong women in history, I loved reading about this strong alliance between husband and wife.

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