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Our One Common Country

Abraham Lincoln And The Hampton Roads Peace Conference Of 1865

James Conroy

Our One Common Country explores the most critical meeting of the Civil War. Given short shrift or overlooked by many historians, the Hampton Roads Conference of 1865 was a crucial turning point in the War between the States. In this well written and highly documented book, James B. Conroy describes in fascinating detail what happened when leaders from both sides came together to try to end the hostilities. The meeting was meant to end the fighting on peaceful terms. It failed, however, and the war dragged on for two more bloody, destructive months. Through meticulous research of both primary and secondary sources, Conroy tells the story of the doomed peace negotiations through the characters who lived it. With a fresh and immediate perspective, Our One Common Country offers a thrilling and eye-opening look into the inability of our nation’s leaders to find a peaceful solution. The failure of the Hamptons Roads Conference shaped the course of American history and the future of America’s wars to come.
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Globe Pequot Press / Lyons Press
Pages: 416Size: 5 3/4 x 8 3/4
978-0-7627-7807-2 • Hardback • January 2014 • $27.95 • (£18.95)
978-1-4930-1881-9 • Paperback • March 2016 • $19.95 • (£13.95)
James B. Conroy practices law in Boston. He previously served as a Senate and House press secretary and speechwriter in Washington, D.C., as well as an administrative assistant (chief of staff) for a New York City congressman. His legal writing has been published in the Massachusetts Law Review and the Massachusetts Lawyers' Weekly.
Conroy is a terrific writer who tells the story of one of the war’s least known episodes, the Hampton Roads Peace Conference. But it is the way he describes the people around Lincoln, their interaction with him and each other that makes this such a good read. Great anecdotes—if you’re like me you’ll find yourself pausing every few pages and saying, ‘I never knew that’—my favorite kind of book!

CBS News

A richly detailed, carefully analyzed, and well-written account of the Hampton Roads meeting...An excellent and long-needed addition to Civil War historiography.
Michael B. Ballard, Author

In this massively researched, exceptionally well-written book, James Conroy has illuminated and set in its historical context an episode familiar and yet hitherto not closely examined. By carefully inserting vignettes of the actual fighters into the Big Picture, he gives his account an immediacy and human dimension rarely found in serious historical works. This is, moreover, a page-turner to be read for sheer pleasure.
Hiller B. Zobel, Author

Conroy’s impressively thorough and engaging document details...the Hampton Roads Peace Conference, which has never before been the sole subject of a book...[It] illuminates the conflicting, passionate views on the Civil War...while giving fascinating insight into the war’s major players.
Publishers Weekly

A brilliant account of the doomed effort to end the Civil War through diplomacy. In this excellent debut, Boston-based attorney Conroy vividly captures the hope, weariness, despair and anger of the moment and the complexity of feelings on both sides. The author lays out this tragic and fascinating story in a style that is witty, acerbic and ironic. A splendid addition to any Civil War library.

Exhaustively researched and engagingly written, James Conroy’s account of the Hampton Roads Conference makes an important contribution to the field of Civil War studies. General readers will enjoy the memorable portraits of individuals and the convincing re-creation of popular emotions as the war ground toward its close. Scholars will have to take more seriously the abundant evidence of the priority that Lincoln gave to conciliating Southern whites, in order to gain their cooperation in Reconstruction.
Paul D. Escott, Wake Forest University, Professor of History

[A] sparkling account … An appealing cast of bullies and eccentrics populates every chapter … Conroy shows that it is possible to write exciting prose with scholarly integrity intact.
Harold Holzer, co-chairman U.S. Lincoln Bicentennial Commission; Civil War History

Three members of the Confederacy met in secret with Abraham Lincoln to stop the bloodshed and end the Civil War.

[Setting] -
The Hampton Roads Conference, Virginia, 1865