Please join us on May 21st as Roosevelt House welcomes acclaimed historian Brenda Wineapple to debut her new book, The Impeachers: The Trial of Andrew Johnson and the Dream of a Just Nation.  This eagerly anticipated account explores the struggle between a liberal-minded Congress and a defiantly conservative (and racist) President to control post-Civil War Reconstruction and chart the course of full equality and genuine citizenship for formerly enslaved African Americans—what Wineapple hauntingly calls the “Battle Lines of Peace.”

In the end, Andrew Johnson escaped conviction in the U. S. Senate by a single vote—as admiringly recorded by John F. Kennedy in his famous book, Profiles in Courage.  But, as Wineapple points out, that fateful acquittal prevented American racial reconciliation and set the re-united nation on a course toward segregation, conflict, domestic terrorism, and the era of Jim Crow.

Wineapple animates the full drama of this 19th-century political crisis, highlighted by the riveting Johnson trial, and ending with the painful aftermath and its generations-long impact on Americans of color.  Author Jon Meacham calls The Impeachers an “absorbing and important book” that modern Americans—for many of whom the word “impeachment” has dramatically returned to the national vocabulary—must read and understand.  Wineapple will be in conversation with Harold Holzer, Jonathan F. Fanton Director of Roosevelt House and an award-winning Lincoln and Civil War historian.

Boston-born and Brandeis-educated, Brenda Wineapple previously authored such books as Ecstatic Nation: Confidence, Crisis, and Compromise, 1848-1877; White Heat: The Friendship of Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson; Genêt: A Biography of Janet Flanner; and Hawthorne: A Life.  She has just published an edited volume for the Library of America on Walt Whitman’s observations about writing, literature, and America.  An elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Wineapple formerly served as Distinguished Writer-in-Residence and Executive Director of the Leon Levy Center for Biography at the CUNY Graduate Center, and now teaches in the MFA programs at the New School and Columbia University’s School of the Arts.

Brenda Wineapple — The Impeachers: The Trial of Andrew Johnson and the Dream of a Just Nation | Posted on May 8th, 2019 | Book Discussions, Public Programs