|Pages/Publication Date:||388 / 2015|
Standing between the Confederacy and its desperately needed legitimacy as an independent nation was one unlikely Englishman who hated the slave trade. Robert Bunch arrived in Charleston to take up the post of British consul in 1853, and his job included sending intelligence back to London. Yet as the Southern states moved toward secession, Bunch found himself plunged into a double life, maintaining an amiable front with his Charleston neighbors while working furiously to thwart their secret plans to revive and expand the slave trade. With a remarkable cast of diplomats, journalists, senators, and spies, foreign correspondent Christopher Dickey captures the intricate, intense relationship between great powers on the brink of war.
"Britain's consul in Charleston before and during the first two years of the Civil War was outwardly pro-Southern and earned notoriety in the North. But in secret correspondence with the British Foreign Office he made clear his hostility to slavery and the Confederacy. His dispatches helped prevent British recognition of the Confederacy. Christopher Dickey has skillfully unraveled the threads of this story in an engrossing account of diplomatic derring-do."—James M. McPherson
"Dickey's comprehension of the mindset of the area, coupled with the enlightening missives from Bunch, provides a rich background to understanding the time period.... A great book explaining the workings of what Dickey calls an erratic, cobbled-together coalition of ferociously independent states. It should be in the library of any student of diplomacy, as well as Civil War buffs."—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"Dickey tells Bunch's story with aplomb and a good deal of fine wit. On one level, Dickey has written a spicy historical beach read, chock-full of memorable characters and intrigue. But into this page-turning entertainment, Dickey has smuggled a thoughtful examination of the geopolitical issues of the day."—Boston Globe