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by Jeffrey Manber and
MONDAY, AUGUST 19, 1861, was a quiet and unassuming night in the Philadelphia suburb of West Chester, Pennsylvania - an ordinary night in an extraordinary time. Through the shadows, as the clock on the towering courthouse nearby read almost midnight, a faceless group of men slid unnoticeably into the borough.
The intent of these unknown loyal Union men was to destroy the printing office of a legally publishing newspaper that had for years passionately argued politics between its eight pages. Amidst the high emotions of the day, its sole crime was that it stood squarely against the administration of Abraham Lincoln and its prosecution of the war.
Within several hours in the dead of night the Jeffersonian's vital subscription lists were destroyed, the printing type thrown out of the window, and the huge printing press broken as best as possible by the sheer strength of the men. As such, it appeared a simple act of thuggery. But the actions on this evening also set in motion one of the most calculated attacks on American liberty since the exploding cannon and dull thud of Revolutionary muskets ceased. - from Lincoln's Wrath
Lincoln's Wrath is the incredible true story of the Civil War's hidden chapter, when violent mobs and army units destroyed the free press, and one man risked everything to discover how far in Washington the conspiracy went.
In the blistering summer of 1861, the North was ablaze. At night, thuggish mobs entered newspaper offices, burning papers and tossing printing presses out of windows. In broad daylight, army units attacked their fellow townsmen, threatening the lives of publishers and their families. In Baltimore, a prison housed governors, members of Congress, mayors and editors. All who faced this wrath shared one thing: they had publicly opposed President Lincoln and the dawning Civil War.
Lincoln's Wrath tells the incredible story of the overlooked chapter of the Civil War, when the government pressured and physically shut down any Northern newspaper that voiced opposition to the war. The effect was a complete dismantling of the free press.
In the midst stood publisher John Hodgson, an angry bigot so hated that a local newspaper gleefully reported his defeat in a barfight. He was also firmly against Lincoln and the war - an opinion he expressed loudly through his opposition newspaper.
When his press was destroyed, first by a mob, then by U.S. marshals, Hodgson decided to take on the entire United States in a dramatic courtroom battle. Through the course of the trial, one impending question loomed: How far did the conspiracy against the press go? Was it the work of local thugs or state officials? Or did the orders come from the Executive Mansion in Washington from President Lincoln himself? To discover the answer Hodgson would risk imprisonment or worse, and the answer would determine the future of free speech in the United States.
Based on ten years of original research, Lincoln's Wrath brings to life one of the most gripping, dramatic and unknown stories of U.S. history.