• Thaddeus Stevens

  • Nineteenth-Century Egalitarian
  • By: Hans L. Trefousse
  • Narrated by: Tom Weiner
  • Length: 10 hrs and 50 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (114 ratings)

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Thaddeus Stevens

By: Hans L. Trefousse
Narrated by: Tom Weiner
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Publisher's Summary

One of the most controversial figures in 19th-century American history, Thaddeus Stevens is best remembered for his role as congressional leader of the radical Republicans and as a chief architect of Reconstruction. Long painted by historians as a vindictive “dictator of Congress”, out to punish the South at the behest of big business and his own ego, Stevens receives a more balanced treatment in Hans L. Trefousse’s biography, which portrays him as an impassioned orator and a leader in the struggle against slavery.

Trefousse traces Stevens’ career through its major phases, from his days in the Pennsylvania state legislature, when he antagonized Freemasons, slaveholders, and Jacksonian Democrats, to his political involvement during Reconstruction, when he helped author the 14th Amendment and spurred on the passage of the Reconstruction Acts and the impeachment of Andrew Johnson. Throughout, Trefousse explores the motivations for Stevens’ lifelong commitment to racial equality, thus furnishing a fuller portrait of the man whose fervent opposition to slavery helped move his more moderate congressional colleagues toward the implementation of egalitarian policies.

©1997 the University of North Carolina Press (P)2013 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

“Thaddeus Stevens has long deserved a discerning, fair-minded, knowledgeable, meticulous biographer; he has finally found him.” (James M. McPherson, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Battle Cry of Freedom)
“This book is well researched and engagingly written and is likely to become the standard biography.” ( Choice)
“An especially valuable addition to Civil War literature. This is now the definitive work on Stevens.” ( Library Journal)

What listeners say about Thaddeus Stevens

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Great Reviewer

Thaddeus Stevens became the most visionary white politician in the history of this nation! He had the foresight to understand America could never truly prosper, unless all citizens experienced freedom, justice and equality!

1 person found this helpful

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Informative

very well done, informative and well worth my time to learn about this country.

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Captivating History

Thaddeus Stevens is a character of debate, while this book is excessively favorable to him, it at least points out a number of foul things about him. The whole thing was done really well & thus I offer no scathing criticisms. It's just that some matters are up for interpretation. They're things that none of us could truly know not knowing him personally and being so far removed through the passing of time.

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Wow! Ashamed for not knowing this until I became almost 79 years old. Thanks

Mark twain said history may not repeat itself but it does rhyme. Hopefully we will find something that rhymes with the great commoner Thaddeus Stevenson. It’s a shame this was stressed and taught more in high school.

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  • 06-12-21

Well done!!!

While contributing for years to Thaddeus Stevens college, I had never read his full bio!! What an extraordinary rendering of his full contradictions and contributions to life in PA —indeed the USA!!

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Like Schoolhouse Rock's "How a Bill Becomes a Law"

Like Schoolhouse Rock's "How a Bill Becomes a Law" without the music or humor.

This biography of radical Republican Thaddeus Stevens somehow manages to strip all the radicalism (or at least passion) out of Stevens' life and produces an exceedingly dry biography that is more akin to reading the Congressional Record than it is a biography of a man. There's a reason nobody reads the Congressional Record.

Biographies of influential Representative/Senators is always tricky because the biographer has SO MUCH material to work with on the legislative side that the result is often just a selection of floor debates or an summary of the byzantine nature of how a bill moved through committee. As legislative history goes, it's adequate. As a biography, it's lacking.

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The Commoner

Great read. Thanks for your contributions to black people. Your leadership will always be remembered

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complex character, good explanation

Thaddeus Stevens was ahead of his time ...an Abolitionist who was in the House. Great.

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Not For Adults

Would you try another book from Hans L. Trefousse and/or Tom Weiner?

Yes

Would you ever listen to anything by Hans L. Trefousse again?

No

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

Not much he could do. The book was written at most at high school level.

What character would you cut from Thaddeus Stevens?

None

Any additional comments?

This book is not for adults. It appears to be written for someone with little to no historical knowlege. It should have been listed, at most, as a "young adult" book.