Not Your Father’s Civil War Times Illustrated

Has anyone else out there noticed the drastic improvement of Civil War Times Illustrated magazine?  Today I was browsing through the local bookstore and came across the latest issue which features both an interview with Drew G. Faust and an excerpt from her long-awaited book This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War, which is slated to be released on Tuesday.  I have not read either since I want to read the book fresh.  This most recent issue also includes an article by Harold Holzer on Lincoln as well as one on handmade and commercial valentines by Ruth Ann Coski. 

I attribute this improvement to its new editor, Dana Shoaf, who recently took over after leaving his previous position as editor of America’s Civil War.  Dana has a clear vision for CWTI which can be seen in the range and quality of the articles.  During a recent conference in Richmond I had a chance to talk with Dana about his plans for the magazine.  Recent articles by Jason Phillips as well as interviews with notable historians such as Gary Gallagher, A. Wilson Greene, and Aaron Sheehan-Dean (forthcoming) promise a more engaging and educational publication.  In short, Shoaf’s editorial oversight has allowed the publication to move beyond its narrow focus on the endless loop of biographical sketches and accounts of obscure battles, skirmishes, etc.  I only subscribe to one Civil War magazine and it is not CWTI.  However, if the quality is maintained over the next few months I can easily see switching.

3 responses... add one

Judging from the most recent issue of “America’s Civil War,” that magazine suffered a grievous blow when Mr. Shoaf moved on. I’m reminded of a familiar Kevin Levin quote: “The same tired stories with the same short list of characters.”

Kevin:

Dana is doing a superb job and that comes as no surprise as he turned around America’s Civil War, but just for the record it should be noted that Chris Lewis was responsible for the interviews of McPherson and Gallagher that you mention in your endorsement of CWTI. I have worked with both Dana and Chris and they both refuse to sacrifice scholarly rigor in publishing a popular magazine.

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