Tag Archives: Best of

Best of 2013

Ian BurumaI decided to post my “Best of” list a little earlier this year. As you might imagine a return to full-time teaching limited what I was able to read over the past few months, but I still managed to make my way through a good number of books in 2013. I thought it was a pretty good year for Civil War books. As for my own research, this past year was a bit of a disappointment. Responsibilities at school also hampered my progress on the black Confederates book, but I am hoping to return to it over the summer. As I reported a few weeks ago, I am also researching the Crater once again for an essay that will appear in an edited volume in 2015. [Should be able to provide more details on it in the near future]. Finally, keep an eye out in January or February for a special issue of Common-place on the Civil War sesquicentennial that I co-edited with Megan Kate Nelson. The essays cover a wide range of topics and should appeal to both scholars and Civil War enthusiasts alike.

Best General History: Ian Buruma, Year Zero: A History of 1945 (The Penguin Press, 2013).

Best Overall Civil War History: Brenda Wineapple, Ecstatic Nation: Confidence, Crisis, and Compromise, 1848-1877 (Harper, 2013).

Best Campaign/Battle Study: Allen Guelzo, Gettysburg: The Last Invasion (Knopf, 2013).

Best Social History: Bruce Levine, The Fall of the House of Dixie: The Civil War and the Social Revolution That Transformed the South (Random House, 2013).

Best Slavery History: Walter Johnson, River of Dark Dreams: Slavery and Empire in the Cotton Kingdom (Harvard University Press, 2013).

Best Edited Collection: Andrew L. Slap and Michael T. Smith, This Distracted and Anarchical People: New Answers for Old Questions about the Civil War-Era North (Fordham University Press, 2013).

Best Memory Study: Ari Kelman, A Misplaced Massacre: Struggling over the Memory of Sand Creek (Harvard University Press, 2013) and Caroline Janney, Remembering the Civil War: Reunion and the Limits of Reconciliation (University of North Carolina Press, 2013).

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

Best Union Study: John Stauffer and Benjamin Soskis, The Battle Hymn of the Republic: A Biography of the Song That Marches On (Oxford University Press, 2013).

Congratulations to the winners and happy reading!

 

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

 

Best of 2012

KantrowitzThe end of my first full year of living in Boston and what a year it’s been.  It should come as no surprise that the highlight of the past year was the publication of my first book in June.  I’ve always loved the social aspect of doing history, whether its teaching in the classroom, working with history teachers or lecturing in public.  I’ve met some wonderful people this year and I thank each and every one of you for purchasing a copy.  Based on the few notices I’ve received from the publisher it looks like sales have been brisk.  I am hoping that my royalty check at least allows me to take my wife out for a really nice dinner next month.

As for 2013 I am looking forward to working with the Massachusetts Historical Society on some programs for teachers as well as the Massachusetts 150 Commission.  On the writing front I am hoping to complete the Confederate camp servants book and finish up with editing the letters of Captain John Christopher Winsmith.  We shall see.  For now I want to thank all of you for continuing to visit Civil War Memory.  It’s hard to believe that I’ve been at this thing called blogging for over seven years now.  Happy Holidays to you and your family.

…and now to the list.

Continue reading

 

Best of 2011

A Sad Note

Fireworks Over Boston

This Holiday Season has been particularly difficult for my former colleagues and students and the close knit community that is the St. Anne’s – Belfield School in Charlottesville, Virginia.  Although I am no longer working there I join them in mourning the loss of some wonderful people.  Today I learned of the death of a student from the class of 2008, who fought a long hard battle against cancer.  Katie was a wonderful student and always had a smile on her face.  No doubt, many of you heard about the horrible plane crash in northern New Jersey last week that took the lives of four members of the Beckwith family.  They were a member of the St. Anne’s – Belfield family.  My thoughts go out to the families and friends during this very difficult time.

What a Year

I have quite a bit to be thankful for as we close out 2011.  It’s been one hell of a year.  First and foremost, my wife and I celebrated our ten year wedding anniversary.  In March I learned that we would be moving to Boston to take advantage of an exciting career opportunity for my wife.  The transition was incredibly smooth and I absolutely love living in the city.  It’s never boring when you are married to an incredibly talented and ambitious woman.  I haven’t gotten as much writing done as I anticipated, but I am making progress on a number of fronts.  In a few weeks I will begin the process of trying to secure a teaching position for next year, but I am still leaving my options open.  I’ve made a number of connections in the area so it’s anyone’s guess as to what I will be doing in the coming months.

The Book

I am in what I believe to be the final stages of getting the Crater manuscript ready for publication.  The press sent me the final edits last week and I should have it completed by Jan. 13, which will be followed by the indexing and review of the final proofs.  It should be smooth sailing from here on out.  The book listing at Amazon has a June 21 release date, but I am hoping that it will be available earlier.  Thanks to those of you who have already purchased it.  It means a great deal to me.

In the Hopper

In addition to getting the ms. ready for publication I am working on a number of other projects that I hope to finish by spring.  The first is a historiographical essay on the war in Virginia in 1861 for a 2-volume collection that is being edited by Aaron Sheehan-Dean.  On the black Confederate front I was recently asked to write an essay for The Journal of the Civil War Era, which I hope to complete by the end of January.  In addition, I hope to get back to work on researching my regimental history of the 55th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry.

And Now to the Books…

Click to continue

 

Best of 2010

Civilians During the battle of Fredericksburg

Unfortunately, this year’s picks are based on a slightly shorter list of books than in the past owing to the amount of time I spent over the summer revising my book manuscript on the battle of the Crater.  However, that didn’t prevent me from reading a fairly large number of books that are worth acknowledging at the end of another year.  Thanks to all of you for taking the time to read, comment, and consider what I have to say.  I have no plans to quit blogging.  In fact, the popularity of this site continues to grow and continues to open up new opportunities for me that I could not have imagined just a few short years ago.  The coming year promises to be another good one on both the professional and personal fronts.  I hope all of you are enjoying the Holiday Season.

Best Civil War Blog: This was one of the easiest choices that I’ve had to make in this category since starting this list.  While there are plenty of good Civil War blogs to choose from only a select few stand out to me as important resources for both scholars and general enthusiasts.  John Hennessy’s Mysteries and Conundrums is hands down the most important Civil War blog in our little corner of the blogosphere.  M&C is the group blog of the staff at the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park and while Hennessy is the most visible writer other contributors include Noel Harrison, Mac Wycoff, and Eric Mink.  Their blog offers a behind-the-scenes look at the complex process involved in interpreting some of America’s most sacred and controversial historic sites.  The site offers interested readers a primer on how public history is done and it does so by engaging the public as an integral part of the process.  No other website or even published study has taught me more over the past year about the history of the Fredericksburg area, public history, and Civil War memory.  Thanks to John and the rest of the staff for inviting us inside, showing us how it is done, and for providing a blueprint that other historic sites can employ.

Best History Book of 2010: Alan Taylor, The Civil War of 1812: American Citizens, British Subjects, Irish Rebels, & Indian Allies (Knopf, 2010).

Best Overall Civil War History: George Rable, God’s Almost Chosen Peoples: A Religious History of the American Civil War (Littlefield History of the Civil War Era, 2010).

Best Campaign/Battle Study: Earl J. Hess, Into the Crater: The Mine Attack at Petersburg (University of South Carolina Press, 2010).

Best Biography: Eric Foner, The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery (Norton, 2010).

Best Confederate Study: Kenneth W. Noe, Reluctant Rebels: The Confederates Who Joined the Army after 1861 (University of North Carolina Press, 2010).

Best Union Study: Lorien Foote, The Gentlemen and the Roughs: Violence, Honor, and Manhood in the Union Army (New York University Press, 2010).

Best Slavery Study: Stanley Harrold, Border War: Fighting over Slavery before the Civil War (University of North Carolina Press, 2010).

Best Memory Study: Benjamin G. Cloyd, Haunted by Atrocity: Civil War Prisons in American Memory (Louisiana State University Press, 2010).

Best Edited Collection: Paul A. Cimbala and Randall M. Miller eds. ,The Great Task Remaining Before Us: Reconstruction as America’s Continuing Civil War (Fordham University Press, 2010).

Best Social History: Stephanie McCurry, Confederate Reckoning: Power and Politics in the Civil War South (Harvard University Press, 2010).

Some good things to look forward to in 2011: Joseph Glatthaar, Soldiering in the Army of Northern Virginia: A Statistical Portrait of the Troops Who Served Under Robert E. Lee (University of North Carolina Press); David S. Reynolds, Mightier Than the Sword: Uncle Tom’s Cabin and the Battle for America (Norton); James Marten, Sing Not War: The Lives of Union and Confederate Veterans in Gilded Age America (University of North Carolina Press); Wallace Hettle, Inventing Stonewall Jackson: A Civil War Hero in History and Memory (Louisiana State University Press); Brooks Simpson, The Civil War in the East: A Reassessment (Praeger); Gary W. Gallagher, The Union War (Harvard University Press); David Goldfield, America Aflame: How the Civil War Created a Nation (Bloomsbury Press).