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SOLD OUT: Lecture, Amanda Foreman, A World on Fire: Britain’s Crucial Role in the American Civil War

Tuesday, July 12, 2011 - 6:00pm to 7:00pm


A World on Fire: Britain’s Crucial Role in the American Civil WarImage courtesy of Random House Publishing Group

In some respects, British involvement in the American Civil War seemed inevitable from the beginning. Britain was dependent on the South for cotton; the Confederacy relied almost exclusively on the island nation for guns, bullets, and ships—and in the meantime, the Union repeatedly butted in between the two parties, interfering with diplomacy and threatening war. But as much as we know about the American Civil War and its 620,000 American war dead,little is known about the “other” combatants and characters: the British men and women who served on both sides of the Cause, in virtually every capacity imaginable. Between 1861 and 1865, thousands of British citizens volunteered for service; from the first cannon blasts against Fort Sumter to Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, British subjects served as officers and infantrymen, sailors and nurses, blockade runners and spies. In her lecture, Amanda Foreman will examine the fraught relations among North, South and Britain from multiple angles, while introducing characters both humble and grand, bringing them to vivid life.

Amanda Foreman is the author of the international bestseller Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire (1999) which won the Whitbread Prize for Best Biography. The book inspired a documentary, a radio play starring Dame Judi Dench, and a film, The Duchess, which was released in 2008 and starred Keira Knightly and Ralph Fiennes. Ms. Foreman was born in London, brought up in Los Angeles, and educated in both the United States and England. She received her doctorate in Eighteenth-Century British History from Oxford University in 1998. She is currently a research fellow at Queen Mary, University of London.

To Reserve: This event is open to the public. The fee is $10 for members and $15 for non-members. Reservations are required but cannot be accepted until Wednesday, June 22, 2011, at 9:00 a.m.

Please click here to register and pay online using our secure website, or call the Athenæum’s events reservation line at 617-720-7600.

 New York Times Book Review