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By Alan Taylor. This searing story of slavery and freedom in the Chesapeake by a Pulitzer PrizeĖwinning historian reveals the pivot in the nationís path between its founding and the civil war. In 1820 Thomas Jefferson observed of sectionalism: "Like a firebell in the night [it] awakened and filled me with terror. I considered it at once the knell of the union." The notes of alarm in Jefferson's comment speak of the fear aroused by the crisis over slavery in his home state. His vision of a cataclysm to come proved prescient. Jefferson's startling observation registered a turn in the nationís course, a pivot from the national purpose of the founding toward the threat of disunion. Drawn from new sources, Alan Taylor's riveting narrative re-creates the events that inspired black Virginians, haunted slaveholders, and set the nation on a new and dangerous course. W. W. Norton & Company (2013), English, Hardcover: 624 pages.