"Rawley in his introduction, a semi-apologia, questions the need for another book on the Civil War. He answers his own question, giving two reasons: first, to reveal how the Kansas upheaval became a main political preoccupation of the country before the war; second, to emphasize how deeply prejudice pervaded the entire populace, both Northern and Southern. In filling in the structure of these two justifications, Rawley achieves his goal in an admirable way."—Gene M. Gressley, Library Journal.
"Based to a considerable degree upon an examination of voluminous manuscript sources. New data relating to inner-political maneuvers, on the part of the Democrats, Whigs, and Republicans are brought forward."—Annals of the American Academy.