9780826353740“Edmund G. Ross – Soldier, Senator, Abolitionist” by Richard A. Ruddy

University of New Mexico Press, $39.95, 328 pp.

Richard Ruddy signs and discusses “Edmund G. Ross” at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 29 at Bookworks, 4022 Rio Grande NW. Ruddy will also give a talk on the book at 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 15 at Los Griegos Public Library, 1000 Griegos NW, Albuquerque.

If most people know the name Edmund G. Ross, it’s because they’ve read John F. Kennedy’s book “Profiles in Courage.”

Ross was one those figures profiled. The reason for the profile was that Ross, a U.S. senator from Kansas, broke with the Republican Party to cast the swing vote against impeaching President Andrew Johnson for “high crimes and misdemeanors.” Johnson’s acquittal allowed him to stay in office.

Now comes a biography of Ross – who was also an abolitionist from Kansas, a journalist and a territorial governor of New Mexico.

The author, Richard Ruddy of Albuquerque, says the biography tells as much about the man himself as it does about who his fellow Americans were- and what they did with their lives – in the second half of the 19th century.

In the book’s preface, Ruddy explains: “Because Ross’ life was a unique collection of experiences, his biography is a one-of-a-kind look at one of the most eventful periods in American history.”

Ruddy was referring to the abolitionist movement and the political fight to bring Kansas into the Union as a free (i.e. non-slave) state, the westward expansion of the railroads, the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the impeachment of President Johnson, and the emigration of Americans into the isolated territory of New Mexico.

“…Ross played important roles in all of those events,” Ruddy writes.