“In early 1861 Virginia rejected secession and tried to promote peaceful reunion, but the state reversed itself in mid-April. Showdown in Virginia, expertly edited by Bill Freehling and Craig Simpson, provides a ringside seat as the Old Dominion wrestled with its tragic dilemma and finally sided with the Southern Confederacy. At long last, historians and their students will have easy access to this indispensable source.”

– Daniel W. Crofts, The College of New Jersey, author of Reluctant Confederates: Upper South Unionists in the Secession Crisis

Showdown in Virginia will make accessible to a much broader audience than before perhaps the most important body of primary source material about the breakup of the Upper South in 1861. These were the final months of what would later be called the antebellum era, and it is in looking at the proceedings from that perspective — of being on the eve of a great national calamity without knowing what shape it would take — that gives them immense poignancy. By examining the words of the Convention, the modern reader can glimpse the uncertainty, anxiety, and hope that Virginians felt in the spring of 1861.

– Nelson D. Lankford, author of Cry Havoc! The Crooked Road to Civil War, 1861 and editor of the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography

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