Reviews of America’s Longest Siege

This book is well researched, well written and well edited. All those interested in Civil War causation, slavery, free blacks, South Carolina, Charleston or the antebellum South should put it on their “must-read” lists.

—Edward Bonekemper, Civil War News

By placing Charleston at the epicenter of his study, Kelly’s eminently readable history is in the company of a number of books that are devoted to exploring the peculiarity of South Carolina’s antebellum politics. The Longest Siege departs from other works, however, owing to the fact that Kelly, a professor of literature at the College of Charleston, is interested in the cultural climate that surrounded the Palmetto State’s narrowing political mind.

—Geoffrey Cunningham, Civil War Book Review

The Denmark Vesey Rebellion of 1822 “burned all liberal sentiment” from the hearts of South Carolina whites, Kelly eloquently writes, making room for arguments for “perpetual slavery” as a necessary evil (and even, as a civilizing force on Africans, a “positive good”), encouraging politicians like Charleston Mayor James Hamilton Jr. to expel free blacks and instigate police-state measures…. An elucidating study.

Kirkus Review

This localized history successfully avoids the pitfalls of regionalism, and is a valuable and lucid addition to the Civil War literature.

—Publishers Weekly

Kelly . . . brings a literary sensibility to this vivid and engrossing study of slavery in and around one of its trading hubs, Charleston, SC, site of the first and longest Civil War siege and a hotbed of political, economic, religious, and moral debates about importing, owning, and trading slaves.

—Douglas King, Library Journal

South Carolina was the heart of the secessionist movement, and Charleston was the heart of South Carolina, which makes Joseph Kelly’s America’s Longest Siege one of the most important books on the war published in a long time. . .

Alan Barra, History.Net