About Kevin Levin

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  1. Have you read it, Kevin? I’m sorry if I should know this based on the blog. Anyway, I really liked the book. But I have some questions about her use of evidence. Regardless, she deserves the accolades.

  2. Ari, – Nice to hear from you. I have indeed gone through it thoroughly and even had a chance to review it. A few thoughts. First, because it was released by a popular press a wider audience will be introduced to what historians have known for quite some time and that is that slavery was at the center of the war and was discussed quite a bit by both Union and Confederate soldiers. So that part of it is nothing new in this book. What Manning does add is her claim that Union soldiers came to the position of emancipation as early as late 1861 early 1862 rather than after Lincoln released the Emancipation Proclamation. I was intrigued by it at first and was even convinced based on the evidence mustered, but I think it is a step too far. It may have been true for western armies which were already liberating sections of the South with large concentrations of slaves in early 1862, but not in the Army of the Potomac which tended to be concentrated in that D.C. – Richmond corridor. That said, I want to emphasize that it is a thought-provoking book deserves the recognition.

  3. I agree with everything that you’ve said. It seemed to me that she pushed her evidence, just a hair to far, to make her argument. And I’m not sure that was necessary. Still, it’s a thoughtful and very well written book. I’m finishing up a review of Faust’s book right now. I’m having a hard time, in some ways, finding my bearings. Not only isn’t it a narrative, but there’s not chronology to allow me to keep my bearings. That said, it’s an extraordinary achievement: deeply researched, very subtle, and probably, in the end, wrong on some key points.

    Anyway, thanks for the reply.

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