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Historian Dean B. Mahin corrects a misconception about Abraham Lincoln's role in foreign affairs in ONE WAR AT A TIME: The International Dimensions of the American Civil War (December 1, 1999, 1-57488-209-0, $27.95).
One War at a Time by Dean MahinThe following is a press release from Brassey's about Mr. Mahin's book:
Abraham Lincoln skilled in foreign affairs
New Study Reveals International Aspects of US Civil War
"One War at a Time" was Lincoln's axiom for Union diplomacy during the American Civil War. Many historians and biographers have written that Lincoln played only a minor role in US foreign relations. Most Americans assume that, since no foreign government recognized Confederate independence or overtly supported the Confederate cause, Lincoln did not have to worry about foreign affairs. Dean Mahin shows, however, that Lincoln skillfully conducted a dangerous diplomatic balancing act, avoiding war with England and France while using the threat of war to prevent European recognition of Confederate independence.
He offers the most thorough review to date of Union and Confederate relations with Britain, including the Trent crisis, Confederate efforts to obtain diplomatic recognition, the construction of warships for the Confederacy in Britain, the British role in the blockade running operation, British fears of an American threat to Canada, and the postwar "Alabama claims" against Britain. ONE WAR AT A TIME also provides the first full analysis of US and Confederate reactions to the French intervention in Mexico and to the efforts to establish an imperial government in Mexico headed by an Austrian archduke.
"I discovered five years ago that there was no comprehensive study of Union diplomacy, and only one survey in 1945 of Lincoln's role in foreign affairs," says Mr. Mahin. "There was no critical examination of the view of most biographers that he played only a minor role in Union diplomacy. ONE WAR AT A TIME fills these gaps in Civil War History and Lincoln biography."
By clearly and cogently explaining the key international implications of the war and revealing Lincoln's important diplomatic role, Mahin's review of Civil War foreign policy adds a new dimension to our understanding of the great conflict. John Taylor, author of successful biographies of Secretary of State William H. Seward and General Robert E. Lee, noted that "ONE WAR AT A TIME shows that Lincoln had a real interest in foreign affairs and that no major diplomatic decision was reached without his participation and concurrence." Mr. Mahin says "I believe that Lincoln's participation in the conduct of the successful Union foreign policy is the only major untold story in Lincoln biography and the most important untold success story of American foreign relations."
Dean B. Mahin has degrees in history and international affairs and is a veteran of forty years of service in international programs in or for the Department of State and the US Information and Foreign Assistance agencies. He lives in Charlotte, North Carolina.
You may order One War at a Time online at amazon.com and other sources.
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