It’s time for the third annual installment of the best in Civil War books and blogs. This is an opportunity to acknowledge those books that have been both a pleasure to read and which have left me with a great deal to ponder. Once again this list reflects just a fraction of what I’ve read during 2007. Congratulations to the winners. Awards are in the mail.
Civil War Memory’s Hall of Fame: I developed this new category to honor some of my favorite readers. This blog has attracted some real characters over the past two years and their devotion to this site and conviction that I am at war with all things southern is worth acknowledging. I had a few people in mind for this award, but in the end I had to go with Jim (a.k.a. Anonymous). When it comes to loyal readers few can match the amount of time Jim spends on my site or the time it has taken him to write negative feedback on at least 20 history blogs. I couldn’t ask for better publicity.
Best Blog: HNN’s Cliopatria Note: All that needs to be said is that I begin each day with Ralph and the gang.
Best Civil War Blog: Craig Warren’s Civil War Literature.
Favorite History Book of 2007: Daniel Walker Howe, What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007). Note: I am only about half-way through the book, but it is already clear that this is the work of a very talented historian.
Best Overall Civil War Military History: Chandra Manning, What This Cruel War Was Over: Soldiers, Slavery, and the Civil War (New York, Knopf, 2007.
Best Campaign Study: Scott C. Patchan, Shenandoah Summer: The 1864 Valley Campaign (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2007).
Best Biography: Elizabeth Brown Pryor, Reading the Man: A Portrait of Robert E. Lee Through His Private Letters (New York: Viking, 2007). Note: This is easily the single best volume on Lee.
Best Confederate Study: Jason Phillips, Diehard Rebels: The Confederate Culture of Invincibility (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2007).
Best Union Study: Garrett Epps, Democracy Reborn: The Fourteenth Amendment and the Fight for Equal Rights in Post-Civil War America (New York: Holt Publishers, 2007 [paperback edition]).
Best Slavery Study: David W. Blight, ed., A Slave No More: Two Men Who Escaped to Freedom (New York: Harcourt, 2007).
Best Memory Study: Robert Cook, Troubled Commemoration: The American Civil War Centennial, 1961-1965 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2007).
Best Edited Collection: John Y. Simon, Harold Holzer, and Dawn Vogel, eds., Lincoln Revisited (New York: Fordham University Press, 2007).
Best Social History: Aaron Sheehan-Dean, Why Confederates Fought: Family & Nation in Civil War Virginia (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2007).
Best Myth Buster: Micki McElya, Clinging to Mammy: The Faithful Slave in Twentieth-Century America (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2007).
Some good things to look forward to in early 2008: Joseph Glatthaar’s, General Lee’s Army: From Victory to Collapse (March), Drew G. Faust, The Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War (January), and William Lee Miller, President Lincoln: The Duty of a Statesman (February).