New Blog on Lincoln and a Quick Comment About North and South Magazine

I discovered a new blog today called Lincoln Studies by Samuel Wheeler of Southern Illinois University.  A quick perusal through a few posts suggests that this is going to be a good one. 

One post in particular that caught my eye was a comment concerning an editorial that appeared in the last issue of North and South magazine which anticipated some changes to the overall focus of the publication.  I was also a bit disappointed after reading it as I am a long-time subscriber to the magazine and value its attempt to treat the Civil War in a mature and scholarly fashion.  As many of you know Terry Johnston recently stepped down as managing editor to be replaced by magazine founder Keith Poulter.  Keith mentioned that there will be less social history and more military history and he has canceled plans for a special issue devoted to Lincoln and Davis

My guess is that financial concerns are driving this change in focus and perhaps it was always just a matter of time.  I had hoped (and still do)  that this magazine would continue to stand out as a publication devoted to presenting its readers with first-rate history written by outstanding scholars in the field concerning a broad rannge of issues. 

Poulter has also signed a deal with Southern Illinois University Press to have a series of articles published in book form:

In a related development, North & South has reached agreement with
Southern Illinois University Press, whereby the Press will publish a series of
books featuring articles that have appeared in the magazine. The first in the
series, due out in spring 2008, will contian eight of the discussion articles
that have appeared, including such favorites as who were the top ten generals,
and who were the worst ten.

I may be wrong, but I think this is a big risk for SIUP.  It seems strange that a university press has agreed to publish what is in essence a top ten list.  We shall see.

* FOOTNOTE *: It looks like Samuel’s new blog site is just an extension of his other website, which is also titled Lincoln Studies.  Oh well…now we have it in blog form.

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The Civil War In Four Minutes

[Hat tip to Ralph Luker at HNN via Manan Ahmed

I actually watched the whole thing, which should be sufficient evidence that I am going insane.

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Spotsylvania County’s Sesquicentennial

While the state of Georgia seems to be going for the entertainment jugular, in preparation for the Civil War Sesquicentennial, Spotsylvania County is being steered down a more sophisticated direction by the NPS:

"It’s not too early at all to start getting things ready," said Russ Smith, superintendent of Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park. He noted that this year’s 400th anniversary of Jamestown took a decade to plan.  Smith is heading up the National Park Service’s efforts. He met last week with counterparts from four other park service regions with Civil War sites. He’s using a plan written several years ago by John Hennessy, the local military parks’ chief historian, "to lay out a framework for the anniversary," Smith said. "This is important to Virginia because there are 12 national parks with Civil War themes."

Here, the Wilderness, Chancellorsville, Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania Courthouse battlefields spread over 8,000 acres and are visited by more than 200,000 people every year. Smith said there’s much to be done to put the anniversary in perspective. "What we’re trying to do, first of all, is redefine what a Civil War site is. It’s not just strategy and tactics," he said. We’re using the motto: ‘The Civil War is not just battles anymore.’"

This is a good sign, but we will certainly have to wait for crunch time when the goals of education and the importance of the all-mighty tourist dollar compete more openly for our souls. 

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Blogs and Wikis

I was pleased to discover today that my blog has been referenced on a website for a Summer Graduate School Workshop out of Washington University in St. Louis.  Civil War Memory was referenced specifically in a section that presents an overview of how blogging technology is being used in the classroom and by academics as a way of getting their work across to a wider audience.  Those of you out there that are teachers and are thinking about utilizing blogs or wikis in your classrooms would do well to check out the site.  I should also mention that my blogging buddy and fellow Civil War historian Jeff McClurken has been reporting on what looks to be a very interesting conference called "Faculty Academy" which took place at the University of Mary Washington and covered the broad theme of technology in the classroom. 

I plan to use blogs next year in two of my classes.  Blogging proved to be incredibly useful during a two-week seminar on the Civil Rights Movement that I taught with four colleagues this past March.  Students found the format to be helpful in furthering discussions and sharing ideas outside of the seminar setting. 

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Laney Prize

Petersburg The Austin Civil War Round Table of Austin, Texas, has awarded its 2007 Laney Prize to A Wilson Greene for Civil War Petersburg: Confederate City in the Crucible of War (University of Virginia Press, 2006). The Laney Prize is given for "distinguished scholarship and writing on the military or political history of the American Civil War," according to the group.

I am writing a review of the book for the journal Civil War History and will have a great deal to say about it once I’ve completed it. 

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