This autobiographical history of America spans the forty years before the Civil War. America was a different country before the war, which seemed to take over the nation wholly, even after it was finished. It is difficult to imagine the time before the war without the shadow of war and civil unrest looming. When this book was first re-printed in 1937, the publisher wrote, “The vigorous, endlessly hopeful America before the Civil War is a constant challenge to our writers,” and so this book filled the gaps and gave an ideal image. Dr. Thomas Low Nichols was a medical student at Dartmouth, but dropped out to pursue journalism and literature, as well as women’s rights activism. When the war broke out in 1861, he went to England to focus on his work. He didn’t want to sully the image he had of his home country, and so, recorded everything he remembered as it was.