The Books

Star Spangled Scandal

Barton Key, son of Francis Scott and US Attorney for Washington, lies dead in front of the White House.  Congressman Daniel Sickles is the killer.  The cause: a liaison with his wife, Teresa.  A sensational trial, shocking defense, and surprise verdict riveted the nation in America's first major scandal.  

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The Presidents' War

For the first time, readers will experience America’s gravest crisis through the eyes of the five former presidents who lived it. Author and historian Chris DeRose chronicles history’s most epic Presidential Royal Rumble, which culminated in a multi-front effort against Lincoln’s reelection bid, but not before:
     * John Tyler engaged in shuttle diplomacy between President Buchanan and the new Confederate Government. He chaired the Peace Convention of 1861, the last great hope for a political resolution to the crisis. When it failed, Tyler joined the Virginia Secession Convention, voted to leave the Union, and won election to the Confederate Congress.
     * Van Buren, who had schemed to deny Lincoln the presidency, supported him in his efforts after Fort Sumter, and thwarted Franklin Pierce's attempt at a meeting of the ex-Presidents to undermine Lincoln.
     * Millard Fillmore hosted Lincoln and Mary Todd on their way to Washington, initially supported the war effort, offered critical advice to keep Britain at bay, but turned on Lincoln over emancipation. 
     * Franklin Pierce, talked about as a Democratic candidate in 1860 and ’64, was openly hostile to Lincoln and supportive of the South, an outspoken critic of Lincoln especially on civil liberties. After Vicksburg, when Jefferson Davis’s home was raided, a secret correspondence between Pierce and the Confederate President was revealed.
     * James Buchanan, who had left office as seven states had broken away from the Union, engaged in a frantic attempt to vindicate his administration, in part by tying himself to Lincoln and supporting the war, arguing that his successor had simply followed his policies. 
     How Abraham Lincoln battled against his predecessors to preserve the Union and later to put an end to slavery is a thrilling tale of war waged at the top level of power.

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Congressman Lincoln

n 1847, Abraham Lincoln arrived in Washington in near anonymity. After years of outmaneuvering political adversaries and leveraging friendships, he emerged the surprising victor of the Whig Party nomination, winning a seat in the House of Representatives. Yet following a divisive single term, he would return to Illinois a failed job applicant with a damaged reputation in his home state, and no path forward in politics. Defeated, unpopular, and out of office, Lincoln now seemed worse off politically than when his journey began. 

But what actually transpired between 1847 and 1849 revealed a man married to his political, moral, and ethical ideals. These were the defining years of a future president and the prelude to his singular role as the center of a gathering political storm. With keen insight into a side of Lincoln never so thoroughly investigated or exhaustively researched, Chris DeRose explores this extraordinary, unpredictable, and oftentimes conflicted turning point in his career. This is Congressman Lincoln as: 

• A leader for the first time, not just a vote, on questions of slavery 

• Unpopular opponent of the “unconstitutional” Mexican War 

• A Whig party leader and presidential kingmaker, one of the first supporters of Zachary Taylor, a southern slave-owning general 

• Reluctant husband in an abusive, deeply troubled marriage 

• The first future president to argue before the Supreme Court and the only president to be awarded a patent. 

Congressman Lincoln

n 1847, Abraham Lincoln arrived in Washington in near anonymity. After years of outmaneuvering political adversaries and leveraging friendships, he emerged the surprising victor of the Whig Party nomination, winning a seat in the House of Representatives. Yet following a divisive single term, he would return to Illinois a failed job applicant with a damaged reputation in his home state, and no path forward in politics. Defeated, unpopular, and out of office, Lincoln now seemed worse off politically than when his journey began. 

But what actually transpired between 1847 and 1849 revealed a man married to his political, moral, and ethical ideals. These were the defining years of a future president and the prelude to his singular role as the center of a gathering political storm. With keen insight into a side of Lincoln never so thoroughly investigated or exhaustively researched, Chris DeRose explores this extraordinary, unpredictable, and oftentimes conflicted turning point in his career. This is Congressman Lincoln as: 

• A leader for the first time, not just a vote, on questions of slavery 

• Unpopular opponent of the “unconstitutional” Mexican War 

• A Whig party leader and presidential kingmaker, one of the first supporters of Zachary Taylor, a southern slave-owning general 

• Reluctant husband in an abusive, deeply troubled marriage 

• The first future president to argue before the Supreme Court and the only president to be awarded a patent. 

Congressman Lincoln

n 1847, Abraham Lincoln arrived in Washington in near anonymity. After years of outmaneuvering political adversaries and leveraging friendships, he emerged the surprising victor of the Whig Party nomination, winning a seat in the House of Representatives. Yet following a divisive single term, he would return to Illinois a failed job applicant with a damaged reputation in his home state, and no path forward in politics. Defeated, unpopular, and out of office, Lincoln now seemed worse off politically than when his journey began. 

But what actually transpired between 1847 and 1849 revealed a man married to his political, moral, and ethical ideals. These were the defining years of a future president and the prelude to his singular role as the center of a gathering political storm. With keen insight into a side of Lincoln never so thoroughly investigated or exhaustively researched, Chris DeRose explores this extraordinary, unpredictable, and oftentimes conflicted turning point in his career. This is Congressman Lincoln as: 

• A leader for the first time, not just a vote, on questions of slavery 

• Unpopular opponent of the “unconstitutional” Mexican War 

• A Whig party leader and presidential kingmaker, one of the first supporters of Zachary Taylor, a southern slave-owning general 

• Reluctant husband in an abusive, deeply troubled marriage 

• The first future president to argue before the Supreme Court and the only president to be awarded a patent. 

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Founding Rivals

 

The Amazing True Story of the Election That Saved the Constitution

In 1789, James Madison and James Monroe ran against each other for Congress—the only time that two future presidents have contested a congressional seat.

But what was at stake, as author Chris DeRose reveals in Founding Rivals: Madison vs. Monroe, the Bill of Rights, and the Election That Saved a Nation, was more than personal ambition. This was a race that determined the future of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the very definition of the United States of America.

Friends and political allies for most of their lives, Madison was the Constitution’s principal author, Monroe one of its leading opponents. Monroe thought the Constitution gave the federal government too much power and failed to guarantee fundamental rights. Madison believed that without the Constitution, the United States would not survive.

It was the most important congressional race in American history, more important than all but a few presidential elections, and yet it is one that historians have virtually ignored. In Founding Rivals, DeRose, himself a political strategist who has fought campaigns in Madison and Monroe’s district, relives the campaign, retraces the candidates’ footsteps, and offers the first insightful, comprehensive history of this high-stakes political battle.

DeRose reveals:

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  • How Madison’s election ensured the passage of a Bill of Rights—and how
    Monroe’s election would have ensured its failure

  • How Madison came from behind to win a narrow victory (by a margin of only 336 votes) in a district gerrymandered against him

  • How the Bill of Rights emerged as a campaign promise to Virginia’s evangelical Christians

  • Why Madison’s defeat might have led to a new Constitutional Convention—and the breakup of the United States


Founding Rivals tells the extraordinary, neglected story of two of America’s most important Founding Fathers.

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