New to the Civil War Memory Library, 09/08

Andrew TorgetJohn A. Casey Jr., New Men: Reconstructing the Image of the Veteran in Late-Nineteenth-Century American Literature and Culture (Fordham University Press, 2015).

Kathleen DuVall, Independence Lost: Lives on the Edge of the American Revolution (Knopf, 2015).

Lisa T. Frank, The Civilian War: Confederate Women and Union Soldiers during Sherman’s March (Louisiana State University Press, 2015).

Tiya Miles, The House on Diamond Hill: A Cherokee Plantation Story (University of North Carolina Press, 2012).

Andrew Torget, Seeds of Empire: Cotton, Slavery, and the Transformation of the Texas Borderlands, 1800-1850 (University of North Carolina Press, 2015).

Approaching Gender Equity in Your Civil War Reading List

For much of my teaching career I have worked to achieve some level of gender equity in the books and articles that I assign my students to read. This has been especially the case in the many elective classes that I have taught on the Civil War era. My overall goal has been to challenge both the tendency to see the Civil War as a masculine subject and the historians and enthusiasts that it attracts as overwhelmingly male. This goes far in tearing down some of the barriers that prevent female students from fully embracing the subject as their own and one that is worthy of serious study.

It should come as no surprise that this outlook helped to shape the reading list for my research seminar at the AAS, which begins next week. Of the six books that I ordered three are authored by women. This past spring Joseph Adelman reflected on similar concerns regarding his reading list for a course on the American Revolution, only he took it a step further. He wondered whether the reading list for an entire undergraduate course on the Revolution could be filled with books by female authors. I didn’t find the results particularly shocking, but it was certainly worth the effort if only to visualize it for the sake of discussion. Continue reading “Approaching Gender Equity in Your Civil War Reading List”

New to the Civil War Memory Library, 08/13

Richard Henry DanaAll of these books – except the new biography of Dana, which is quite good – are connected to my ongoing research project on Silas Chandler.

Jeffrey Amestoy, Slavish Shore: The Odyssey of Richard Henry Dana Jr. (Harvard University Press, 2015).

Joan Cashin, A Family Venture: Men and Women on the Southern Frontier (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994).

Herbert C. Covey and Dwight Eisnach eds, How the Slaves Saw the Civil War: Recollections of the War through the WPA Slave Narratives (Praeger, 2014).

Adam Rothman, Slave Country: American Expansion and the Origins of the Deep South (Harvard University Press, 2005).

Timothy Smith, Mississippi in the Civil War: The Home Front (University of Mississippi Press, 2010).

Kimberly Wallace Sanders, Mammy: A Century of Race, Gender, and Southern Memory (University of Michigan Press, 2009).

Charles Sydnor, Slavery in Mississippi (1933, re-published by University of South Carolina Press, 2013).

Walter Johnson Offers ‘A Better Way to Think About Slavery’

For the past few days I’ve been reading about the expansion of slavery into the southwestern states during the 1830s and 40s. Silas Chandler was two years old when his master, Roy Chandler, moved from Virginia to Mississippi in 1839. This was right in the middle of a severe economic downturn owing to runaway speculation as well as dangerous banking policies (or lack thereof) on the state and federal levels. It all came temporarily crashing down and the Chandler family found itself right in the middle of it. Right now all I have are a lot of questions about the family’s history in Virginia, why they moved to Mississippi, and the challenges of getting settled at such an uncertain moment.

I am relying on a number of books to help fill in the big picture, including Ira Berlin’s, Generations of Captivity: A History of African-American Slaves, Joshua Rothman’s Flush Times and Fever Dreams: A Story of Capitalism and Slavery in the Age of Jackson, Edward Baptist’s The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism and Walther Johnson’s River of Dark Dreams: Slavery and Empire in the Cotton Kingdom. From here I will look more closely at Palo Alto and the local region in which they lived.  Continue reading “Walter Johnson Offers ‘A Better Way to Think About Slavery’”

Why Did a Video about the Civil War and Slavery Go Viral?

Yesterday I posted a video of a West Point history professor briefly discussing the central role that slavery played in the coming of the Civil War. While I suggested that there is nothing surprising in this video, Professor Ty Seidule does address a number of widely misunderstood topics related to the central issue such as why non-slaveholding whites supported the Confederacy.

The video appeared following a column by Steven Metz, director of research at the U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute, in which he calls for the U.S. military to ‘Disavow the glorification of Confederate symbolism.’ Professor Seidule is interviewed in this article, which likely explains the statement I highlighted in yesterday’s post about the U.S. army’s role in defeating the Confederacy. Continue reading “Why Did a Video about the Civil War and Slavery Go Viral?”