Volume two of William Freehling’s Road to Disunion (Secessionists Triumphant) is now available. Freehling is one of the most respected and talented historians of the past few decades and his writing combines an analytical flair with a readable narrative and a commitment to highlighting contingency and the many personalities that dominate the historical landscape of the time. Freehling is one of the few historians that I like to think makes you smarter; in other words his arguments are incredibly sophisticated, but he manages to pack it in through vivid stories. Don’t worry if you haven’t read the first volume since Freehling sums up his arguments in the first few chapters. Professor Freehling has been living here in Charlottesville for about five years and is currently a senior fellow at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. I’ve heard him lecture numerous times and convinced him to visit my Civil War class to discuss one of his articles a few years back. Whenever I see him he asks when he will be asked to make a return appearance.