I’ve devoured a good deal of Boston history since arriving in the city in 2011. Unfortunately and perhaps surprisingly, the one major gap in my understanding is the Civil War era. Apart from Thomas H. O’Connor’s Civil War Boston: Home Front and Battlefield there is really nothing available. Stephen Puleo’s books are helpful, but they are more narrative and lack that analytical edge.
The one exception to this is Stephen Kantrowitz’s, More Than Freedom: Fighting for Black Citizenship in a White Republic, 1829-1889, which as the title suggests focuses on the racial dynamic of Boston.
O’Connor’s study was published back in 1997, but apparently it was allowed to go out of print. Thankfully, Northeastern University Press has seen fit to bring it back in a new paperback version.
I am three chapters in and it is quite good. O’Connor does an excellent job of analyzing the complex ethnic and racial make up of Boston during the 1850s as the sectional divide widened. Coverage of the varied response to John Brown’s raid is particularly good. [click to continue…]
No, I don’t believe that the views expressed in this video reflect the views of any one section of the country, but I do believe that “Mungo” gets at something interesting. He at least echoes many of the hysterical views expressed in the wake of the W&L Confederate flag controversy and other so-called heritage violations.
[Uploaded to YouTube on January 27, 2014]
Brooks Simpson is optimistic that a dialogue is possible with the SCV’s new chief of heritage operations. I fully support whatever extent Brooks and Mr. Jones are able to engage in a civil conversation about those issues related to Civil War memory that continue to divide Americans. That said, I think it is safe to say that however civil and productive the conversation turns out to be we should remember that Jones will not be speaking for the SCV. [click to continue…]
Why am I not surprised that Virginia Flagger, Grayson Jennings, has taken to social media to vent about my appearance in Petersburg this past week for the 150th anniversary of the battle of the Crater. As I mentioned in my last post, he had every opportunity to engage me following my talk on Friday evening, which was recorded by C-SPAN and slated to air the week of August 18. The potential was there for a very public challenge to the specifics of what I had to say and to my presence generally. Instead, we were treated to SILENCE. [click to continue…]
The Flaggers have been huffing and puffing for months about my scheduled visit to Petersburg for the 150th anniversary of the Crater. I didn’t really know what to expect, but I was flattered that they thought me “flag” worthy. [click to continue…]