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In February, the shadow of a total eclipse of the sun raced from the Mississippi Delta to Cape Cod. Masur (history, City College of New York) explores the anticipation, the observation, and the excitement it raised at a critical moment in the history of the US. Among the themes he identifies are slavery and abolition, tension between states' rights and national priorities, the competing passions of religion and politics, and the effects of new machinery on the relationship to the land. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)