OVERRIDE

Two Miserable Presidents

Everything Your Schoolbooks Didn't Tell You About the Civil War

by Steven Sheinkin, illustrated by Tim Robinson

Roaring Brook Press

May 22, 1856: A MEMBER OF CONGRESS FROM SOUTH CAROLINA WALKS INTO THE SENATE CHAMBER, LOOKING FOR TROUBLE.

That Congressman, Preston Brooks, was ready to attack Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts over remarks Sumner made slamming senators who supported slavery in Kansas. Brooks lifted his cane to beat Sumner, and here the action in the book stops, so that Steve Sheinkin can explain just where this confrontation started. In the process, he unravels the complicated string of events – the small things, the personal ones, the big issues– that led to The Civil War. It is a time and a war that threatened America’s very existence, revealed in the surprising true stories of the soldiers and statesmen who battled it out.

Two Miserable Presidents is a 2009 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.

BOOK EXCERPTS

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Two Miserable Presidents
How to Rip a Country ApartOn May 22, 1856, a congressman from South Carolina walked into the Senate chamber, looking for trouble. With a cane in his hand, Preston Brooks scanned the nearly empty room and spotted the man he wanted: Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts. Sumner was sitting at a desk, writing letters, unaware he had a visitor. He became aware a moment later, when he looked up from his papers just in time to see Preston Brooks's metal-tipped cane rising high above his head.Stop That Cane!So Preston Brooks's metal-tipped cane is about to land on a senator's
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REVIEWS

Praise for Two Miserable Presidents

Booklist

Chatty and accessible, this book does double duty: it introduces Civil War history for readers who don’t know much about it and supplies browsable commentary for those familiar with the big picture. Although Sheinkin apologizes for the dull textbooks he used to write in an author’s note, his experiences give him the authority to tell the history from the inside, and he supports his material with an extensive array of source notes. His background also gives him a store of lively, interesting anecdotes, which appear here. Beginning with a look at the role cotton played in the history, his fast-paced narrative is broken into short, tersely titled vignettes (“Brother against brother?” “The bloody road to Richmond”). There’s no in-depth analysis, but that doesn’t equate with simplistic. The horrors of slavery and battlefield slaughter are clear, as are achievements of Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, John Brown, and many more... — Hazel Rochman
Booklist

Chatty and accessible, this book does double duty: it introduces Civil War history for readers who don’t know much about it and supplies browsable commentary for those familiar with the big picture. Although Sheinkin apologizes for the dull textbooks he used to write in an author’s note, his experiences give him the authority to tell the history from the inside, and he supports his material with an extensive array of source notes. His background also gives him a store of lively, interesting anecdotes, which appear here. Beginning with a look at the role cotton played in the history, his fast-paced narrative is broken into short, tersely titled vignettes (“Brother against brother?” “The bloody road to Richmond”). There’s no in-depth analysis, but that doesn’t equate with simplistic. The horrors of slavery and battlefield slaughter are clear, as are achievements of Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, John Brown, and many more... — Hazel Rochman

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • by Steven Sheinkin, illustrated by Tim Robinson

  • Steve Sheinkin  is the award-winning author of several fascinating books on American history, including The Notorious Benedict Arnold, which won the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults, the Boston Globe/Horn Book Award for nonfiction, and received three starred reviews; and Bomb, a National Book Award finalist and recipient of five starred reviews. He lives in Saratoga Springs, NY.
  • Steve Sheinkin
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Available Formats and Book Details

Two Miserable Presidents

Everything Your Schoolbooks Didn't Tell You About the Civil War

by Steven Sheinkin, illustrated by Tim Robinson

Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year, Beacon of Freedom Award
  • Trade Paperback

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  • Hardcover

  • e-Book

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

Roaring Brook Press

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