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Blood and Daring

How Canada Fought the American Civil War and Forged a Nation

by John Boyko

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civil war period (1850-1877)
list price: $35.00
also available: Paperback
category: History
published: 2013
publisher: Knopf Canada

Blood and Daring will change our views not just of Canada's relationship with the United States, but of the Civil War, Confederation and Canada itself.
In Blood and Daring, lauded historian John Boyko makes a compelling argument that Confederation occurred when and as it did largely because of the pressures of the Civil War. Many readers will be shocked by Canada's deep connection to the war--Canadians fought in every major battle, supplied arms to the South, and many key Confederate meetings took place on Canadian soil. Boyko gives Americans a new understanding of the North American context of the war, and also shows how the political climate of the time created a more unified Canada, one that was able to successfully oppose American expansion.
Filled with engaging stories and astonishing facts from previously unaccessed primary sources, Boyko's fascinating new interpretation of the war will appeal to all readers of history. Blood and Daring will change our views not just of Canada's relationship with the United States, but of Confederation itself.

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Contributor notes

John Boyko is the author of 4 previous books, including the critically acclaimed Bennett: The Rebel Who Challenged and Changed a Nation and Last Steps to Freedom: The Evolution of Canadian Racism. He is a teacher and administrator at Lakefield College School, and an op-ed contributor to newspapers across Canada.

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Editorial Review

“A wonderful and seamless popular history full of colourful characters, intrigue and political backstabbing of the first order. Though there is no secret as to how the book ends...he deftly adds enough suspense to keep readers turning the pages.... Boyko’s accomplished narrative is precisely the kind of popular history that deserves a wide audience.”
National Post
“A thrilling, near-theatrical look at the years leading up to Confederation.... The authoritative narration is clear, precise, and entirely enjoyable for non-scholars. The book presents a startlingly unfamiliar and ominously dangerous period in Canadian-American relations.... It’s the birth of Canada in all its glory and muck.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Boyko has spun a compelling narrative. Better still, it’s supported by just the right measure of academic rigour.”
Winnipeg Free Press
“In the middle of the nineteenth century, Canada was at a risk never matched before or since. After threatening invasion during the Civil War, the United States looked northwards after it was won to fulfill its Manifest Destiny. Historian John Boyko tells this story in Blood and Daring. He does so by recounting the stories of six ‘guides.’ Some are famous like Sir John A. Macdonald, and his principal opponent William Seward, Secretary of State and an ardent annexationist. Others are little known, such as escaped slave John Anderson who used Canadian law to avoid expatriation, and Sarah Edmonds, one of forty thousand Canadians to join the fight with the North or South. With verve and passion and impeccable research, Boyko makes this vital story come alive.”
—Richard Gwyn, award-winning author of John A. and Nation Maker
“The American Civil War involved more of the North American continent than the Union and the Confederacy. Forty thousand Canadians fought in Union armies, Confederate agents operated in Canadian provinces, and the Canadian-American border was the scene of skirmishes that threatened to escalate into a larger conflict. In this lively and eye-opening book, John Boyko shows how the war and its aftermath not only gave the United States a new birth of freedom; it also gave birth to the new nation of Canada.”
—James M. McPherson, Princeton University’s Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Battle Cry of Freedom

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About the Author

John Boyko

John Boyko has written seven books including the bestselling Blood and Daring: How Canada Fought the American Civil War and Forged a Nation and the critically acclaimed Cold Fire: Kennedy’s Northern Front. The Globe and Mail has deemed him “a distinguished scholar of Canadian political history.” John lives in Lakefield, Ontario.

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