Thaddeus Stevens: Civil War Revolutionary, Fighter for Racial Justice, by Bruce Levine (Simon & Schuster, 320 pp., $28)
Historian Bruce Levine sets out to tell the story of the “zigs and zags” in the career path of 19th-century Pennsylvania congressman and civil-rights advocate Thaddeus Stevens; along the way he shows how our political system managed to advance human freedom. Levine deftly weaves political, social, and intellectual history into eleven brief chapters on the life of a politician who was at the cutting edge of arguments over slavery and equality.
Born with a club foot in 1792 in Danville, Vt., and named for Thaddeus Kosciuszko, the Polish general and hero of the American Revolution, Stevens embodies one version of an …
This article appears as “A Radical Achievement” in the July 1, 2021, print edition of National Review.