The Littlefield History of the Civil War Era

There has been a buzz about this series for a few years now.  The Littlefield Series will be comprised of sixteen volumes and is being edited by Gary Gallagher and Michael Parrish for the University of North Carolina Press and the Littlefield Fund for Southern History of the University of Texas at Austin.  While there has been nothing posted on UNC’s website I did receive a brochure which includes a brief announcement that the inaugural volume is scheduled for publication this November.  The first volume is by Elizabeth Varon and is titled Disunion: The Coming of the American Civil War, 1789-1859.  Additional volumes will be published through the Civil War Sesquicentennial and included by such notable scholars as Mark Grimsley, Mark E. Neely, and James McPherson.  If I remember correctly, McPherson is writing the volume on the navy, George Rable on religion, Joan Waugh on the common soldier, and Carol Reardon on the war in the East. 

Hey Grimsley, what subject are you tackling?

This promises to be an important series of books that should both synthesize the overwhelming amount of new scholarship which has emerged over the past few decades as well as offer new interpretations that will influence future scholars.

3 thoughts on “The Littlefield History of the Civil War Era

  1. Mark Grimsley

    Actually, I’m not part of the series. Or rather, have not been for a number of years.

    Back in 1996, Gary Gallagher invited me to do the Civil War navies volume. I had (and have) no background in the subject area, but he hoped to include me in the series and all the other volumes were taken. I agreed because it really is a great series and I’d be in great company. Trouble was, I never could muster any real enthusiasm for the project, so a few years later I withdrew (and paid back the handsome signing bonus). It turned out for the best, since Jim McPherson had a similar enthusiasm deficit with regard to his initial assignment, but had by then acquired a strong interest in the navies.

    A couple of years ago another volume became available when its author had to drop out — for health reasons as I recall — and by happenstance Gary and I ran into each other at about the same time. He offered me a crack at that volume and I was sorely tempted to accept — to repeat, it’s a great series with a great stable of authors. But after evaluating the projects to which I was already committed, I decided I’d better decline.

    To tell you the truth, if the Eastern Theater volume ever became available I’d be on it like a shot (were Gary to invite me a third time). But if I recall correctly, that one’s in Carol Reardon’s very capable hands.

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  2. Kevin Levin

    Thanks for the update Mark. Someone at UNC Press needs to take your name off the advertisement for the series. By the way, thanks for the link to my post on blogging the Civil War.

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  3. Andrew Duppstadt

    Kevin (and Mark),
    I too received the recent catalog in the mail from UNC Press and was delighted to see mention of this series. It sounds very promising and certainly an ambitious endeavor. Being somewhat of a naval historian I’m glad to hear that McPherson has a “strong interest” in the navies, but I can’t help but think there are historians with much more of an interest and background in naval history that might be better suited for that assignment. Of course, they may be in the same boat as Mark (too many outstanding commitments, etc.). Whatever the case, I’ll be very interested to see how McPherson handles the naval aspects of the war.

    Andrew Duppstadt

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