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Monday, November 09, 2015

Our Man in Charleston Britain's Secret Agent in the Civil War South by Christopher Dickey

The ruins of Mills House and nearby buildings. A shell-damaged carriage and the remains of a brick chimney are in the foreground, 1865 (Wikipedia)

Robert Bunch, the British Consul in Charleston, South Carolina had to walk a thin line.  He hated slavery and saw its terrible effects at first hand, but he often had to dissemble or charm the businessmen and plantation owners who strongly advocated it.  Many of them actually wanted to revive the slave trade from Africa.He needed a 'more delicate touch, more savoir faire,' and ''more social awareness' to achieve Her Majesty's ends in the excitable South than the more restrained North. It's a wonder that his story hasn't been told before, because he played such an important role in reporting events to the British government.

Bunch warned that the situation between the North and the South was likely to lead to war and he had to tread even more carefully when many states seceded and wanted recognition from Great Britain. They thought that Britain was so dependent on the cotton trade that they would do anything to help the South...

This fascinating tale by Christopher Dickey reads like a spy novel, and makes the reader feel as if Bunch is a friend.  I was very sorry to finish it, and I am interested in reading more books by Dickey.  It doesn't shy away from the gruesome details of slavery, however, and it is certainly an eye-opener for someone who lists Gone with the Wind amongst their favourite books!

I received this ebook from Blogging for Books in return for an honest review.

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