This year I will be teaching my Civil War elective in the Fall semester. For the past three years I’ve used Brook Simpson’s very readable and concise book, America’s Civil War (Harland Davidson, 1996). The book proved to be ideal regardless of whether the class was structured around the critical analysis of secondary sources or as a research seminar. Still, it is always important to make changes if only for the teacher’s psychological well-being. This year I’ve switched to This Terrible War: The Civil War and its Aftermath by Michael Fellman, Lesley Gordon, and Daniel Sutherland. [Here is a review from H-Net] I chose this text for a couple reasons. The book is a bit more detailed and will give the class more to critically analyze; there is a longer section on Reconstruction; and the book also includes a section on Civil War memory as well as a nice selection of primary sources. This year the class will be structured as a college seminar. We will read this book along with a selection of secondary sources – many will no doubt be pulled from North and South Magazine.
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