In May the first volume of essays that cover the period between Fort Sumter and Emancipation will be published and I am happy to report that it will include my most recent essay. I’ve also been asked to write an essay that will discuss how the book can be used in the history classroom.
Early on I thought that at some point a book of essays might be published. As a collection they provide a wonderful introduction to the period. I think it’s safe to say that publication also reflects concerns about the permanence of the site itself. We can assume that the column will run through to the end of the sesquicentennial in 2015, but the ultimate fate of the content is anyone’s guess. This is something that all of us in the blogosphere, who have accumulated content need to consider.
Over the past few years the essays have become a staple for my Civil War class. Their relatively short length makes them accessible for students and many of the essays take students beyond the standard accounts in their textbooks. In many cases you get the current thinking about specific subjects without having to talk historiography. Best of all they make for great conversation starters. Recently, one of my colleagues used my camp servant essay to take students beyond the well-engrained assumptions about the master-slave relationship. Finally, as someone who emphasizes critical writing skills many of the authors provide very useful models for how to structure an essay.