July 3 marks the last day of the battle of Gettysburg 150 years ago -- Pickett's Charge, the "high water mark of the Confederacy."
July 4 is of course Independence Day, but this year it is also the sesquicentennial of the surrender of Vicksburg, which split the rebel states in two by securing the length of the Mississippi for the Union.
This week, a century and a half ago, marked the certain beginning of the end for the Confederacy and thus of slavery and the rise of the great Republic of freedom.
To commemorate this week, I am spending the next three days of broadcasting with five extraordinary authorities on the events both of the founding and of the saving of the Republic.
Wednesday's program begins with National Review editor Rich Lowry, whose new book Lincoln Unbound is a wonderful walk through the life and, crucially, the political theory of Lincoln, with a much needed emphasis on what drove the young Lincoln to succeed, what shaped his political philosophy, how that philosophy reached its full development in the Lincoln-Douglas debates, and how the country needs a new rebirth of that philosophy today.
Thursday's Independence Day show features a long conversation with one of America's great students and teachers of political theory, Professor Harry Jaffa, whose Crisis of the House Divided plunges deep into the substance of the Lincoln-Douglas debates and of the Declaration's role in Lincoln's thinking.
Jeffrey Shaara, one of the country's most prolific writers about the Civil War is my guest for hours two and three of Wednesday's show, and his most recent novel A Chain of Thunder -- the second in a series -- is a novel of the siege of Vicksburg, telling the story of the campaign by U.S. Grant that many consider to be the finest ever fought on American soil, and bringing home to many readers for the first time the story of the fall of the fortress on the Mississippi that doomed the Confederacy. I recommend reading A Blaze of Glory -- the first book in the series about the battle of Shiloh a year earlier -- before the new book, but Shaara has done a great service to both sides of the Vicksburg struggle.