Civil War Historiography 101: Day 2

On Sunday I briefly addressed a recent comment from a fellow blogger which suggested that Civil War history is stuck in some kind of “binary” rut. Of course, those of you out there who are familiar with the literature know that this is simply not true. I had originally intended to put together a list of journal articles that address various themes in Civil War historiography, but decided to recommend a source that would be accessible to any reader. It is safe to assume that most Civil War enthusiast don’t worry about questions surrounding historiography. More serious students understand that a close reading of the history of Civil War studies reflects both the progress within the field as well as inherent limitations.

In 1998 James McPherson and William J. Cooper published an excellent collection of essays called Writing the Civil War: The Quest To Understand (you can get a paperback copy for $15). There are twelve essays by some of the leading scholars in the field. The essays are easy to read and offer an exhaustive survey of the Civil War landscape. Here is a listing of the table of contents:

Blueprint For Victory: Northern Strategy and Military Policy by Gary W. Gallagher
Rebellion and Conventional Warfare: Confederate Strategy and Military Policy by Emory M. Thomas
Battlefield Tactics by Joseph T. Glatthaar
“Not the General But the Soldier”: The Study of Civil War Soldiers by Reid Mitchell
Abraham Lincoln vs. Jefferson Davis: Comparing Presidential Leadership in the Civil War by Mark E. Neely
An Elusive Synthesis: Northern Politics during the Civil War by Michael F. Holt
Beyond State Rights: The Shadowy World of Confederate Politics by George C. Rable
A Constitutional Crisis by Michael Les Benedict
What Did the Winners Win: The Social and Economic History of the North during the Civil War by Philip Shaw Paludan
Behind The Lines: Confederate Economy and Society by James L. Roark
“Ours As Well As That Of The Men: Women and Gender in the Civil War by Drew G. Faust
Slavery And Freedom In The Civil War South by Peter Kolchin

Join the Conversation