Feb 21, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Exclusive: CNN's Dana Bash has book coming on America's "most violent election"

Cover of Dana Bash book

Cover: Hanover Square Press//HarperCollins

Dana Bash, CNN anchor and chief political correspondent, will be out Sept. 3 with "America's Deadliest Election," a book about the little-known 1872 Louisiana gubernatorial election.

Why it matters: The book, being published two months before our own contentious election, "is an eye-opening warning of what's at stake and what it takes to protect our democracy," the forthcoming announcement says.

Details: The election "led to hundreds of murders, warfare in the streets of New Orleans, [dueling] governors of Louisiana," the publisher, Hanover Square Press/HarperCollins, says.

  • "The entire country watched in grim fascination as the wounds of the Civil War were ripped open and the promise of President Grant's Reconstruction faltered in the face of violent resistance and the birth of the Ku Klux Klan."

The backstory: Bash tells Axios she was approached by David Fisher, a bestselling author and co-author, with the cautionary tale of the contested 1872 Louisiana election, which "simply blew my mind. ... This seemingly forgotten election fundamentally changed America."

  • "Larger-than-life politicians, corruption, hubris, manipulation and raw racism in the Reconstructionist South led to months of uncertainty about basic government functions," Bash says.
  • "It ended with extreme violence — the Colfax Massacre, in which 150 African Americans were murdered, then the Battle of Liberty Place, a pitched battle in the streets of New Orleans that overthrew the government."

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