Category Archives: Civil War Historians

The Civil War Monitor’s Best Books of 2013

In addition to my short travel piece on Civil War Boston for the latest issue of The Civil War Monitor, I also took part in the magazine’s “Best of 2013″ feature. Seven of us, including Ken Noe, Andrew Wagenhoffer, Robert Krick, Ethan Rafuse, Brooks Simpson and Harry Smeltzer were asked to select a “Top Pick” along with an “Honorable Mention.” Here are my selections. Continue reading

Review of Caroline Janney’s Remembering the Civil War

JanneyHere is my review of Caroline Janney’s book, Remembering the Civil War: Reunion and the Limits of Reconciliation, which will appear in the next issue of the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography (pp. 389-90). It goes without saying that I highly recommend this book.

In 2001, David Blight published Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory. The book won numerous awards and helped to shape a wave of academic studies that soon followed. Blight’s depiction of a nation that by the turn of the twentieth century had largely embraced sectional reconciliation at the expense of a legacy of emancipation also found a voice outside academic halls on National Park Service battlefields and in museum exhibitions. Many have embraced the narrative of emancipation and its emphasis on African American soldiers throughout the sesquicentennial commemorations as part of an effort to overcome a nation’s willful amnesia. Continue reading

New to the Civil War Memory Library, 11/21

Jaime MartinezEnrico Dal Lago, William Lloyd Garrison and Giuseppe Mazzini: Abolition, Democracy, and Radical Reform, (Louisiana State University Press, 2013).

William C. Harris, Lincoln and the Union Governors, (University of Southern Illinois Press, 2013).

Jaime A. Martinez, Confederate Slave Impressment in the Upper South, (University of North Carolina Press, 2013).

Jared Peatman, The Long Shadow of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, (University of Southern Illinois Press, 2013).

Kevin Peraino, Lincoln in the World: The Making of a Statesman and the Dawn of American Power, (Crown, 2013).

Rachel A. Shelden, Washington Brotherhood: Politics, Social Life, and the Coming of the Civil War, (University of North Carolina Press, 2013).

John David Smith, Lincoln and the U.S. Colored Troops, (University of Southern Illinois Press, 2013).

Mark Twain, Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 2: The Complete and Authoritative Edition, (University of California Press, 2013).

Massachusetts at the Crater

Massachusetts Reunion at Crater

57th Massachusetts at the Crater with William Mahone at center (1887)

One of the things that I regret about my book on the Crater is that I failed to spend sufficient time exploring Union accounts of the battle, both during and, especially, after the war. Given that I wrote the book while living in Virginia I was always primarily interested in Confederate accounts (wartime and postwar) and what they had to say about issues related to slavery and race. Continue reading

Review of Linda Barnickel’s Milliken’s Bend

Milliken's BendThis morning The Civil War Monitor published my review of Linda Barnickel’s new book, Milliken’s Bend: A Civil War Battle in History and Memory.

The past few decades have witnessed an outpouring of Civil War scholarship and more popular studies about slavery, emancipation, and in particular, the history of African American soldiers. As we make our way through the Civil War Sesquicentennial, this scholarship continues to shape and inspire a wide range of commemorative events that highlight the history of these soldiers and the contributions they made to preserving the Union and ending slavery in 1865. Indeed, the history of these men has been front and center during the Civil War 150th, which stands in sharp contrast with the Centennial celebrations of the early 1960s. Much of what we’ve seen over the past few years has been framed around a collective sense that, as a nation, we have a moral responsibility to remember and properly commemorate an aspect of our Civil War history that has been ignored for far too long, minimized, and in some cases, intentionally distorted.

Read the rest of the review.