New to the Civil War Memory Library, 03/14

61f03J7UMJLJeanette T. Greenwood, First Fruits of Freedom: The Migration of Former Slaves and Their Search for Equality in Worcester, Massachusetts, 1862-1900 (University of North Carolina Press, 2010).

William Hassler ed., One of Lee’s Best Men: The Civil War Letters of General William Dorsey Pender (University of North Carolina Press, 1999).

Joseph M. Beilein and Matthew C. Hulbert eds., The Civil War Guerrilla: Unfolding the Black Flag in History, Memory, and Myth (University Press of Kentucky, 2015).

James McPherson, The War That Forged a Nation: Why the Civil War Still Matters (Oxford University Press, 2015).

Brian Craig Miller, Empty Sleeves: Amputation in the Civil War South (University of Georgia Press, 2015).

Adam Rothman, Beyond Freedom’s Reach: A Kidnapping in the Twilight of Slavery (Harvard University Press, 2015).

Harold Holzer, Craig L. Symonds, and Frank J. Williams eds., Exploring Lincoln: Great Historians Reappraise Our Greatest President (Fordham University Press, 2015).

Battle Cry of Freedom Turns 25

McPherson Battle Cry of FreedomThis year the American Historical Association will mark the 25th anniversary of James McPherson Pulitzer Prize winning book, Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era with a panel discussion that includes Judith Giesburg, Lesley Gordon, Michael Todd Landis,and Daniel E. Sutherland. McPherson will also be in attendance as the panel chair. Panelists will offer their thoughts and McPherson will likely respond with comments from the audience taking up what time is left. It is likely that the discussion will focus overwhelmingly on how the book shaped Civil War scholarship.

The book has achieved a level of notoriety beyond academe that is unmatched by any single Civil War study published since. The book’s popularity elevated McPherson to one of the most popular historians in the field.

With that in mind I want to ask you, dear reader, to share your thoughts about the book’s and McPherson’s influence on the scholarship and popular understanding of the Civil War era during the last twenty five years.

What’s In a List? I’ll Tell You

Megan Kate Nelson’s new post at Historista is sure to keep the controversy surrounding James McPherson’s recent New York Times “best of” list alive. There are two issues discussed in her post that I think are best kept separate even though there is some overlap. First, Megan highlights the extent to which academia remains an “old boys club”. At the same time she expresses some frustration regarding the unwillingness of her fellow historian to generate a new list that highlights a wider swath of talent. Continue reading “What’s In a List? I’ll Tell You”

About James McPherson’s List

This past week The New York Times featured James McPherson in its “By the Book” series. McPherson was asked a couple of questions about those books that influenced his development as a scholar and who he sees as currently shaping the field.  Well, his responses touched off an interesting discussion on the feed of one of my Facebook friends. No need to link to the discussion. The concern is not only that McPherson privileges male scholars, but that his responses ignore recent scholarship. Continue reading “About James McPherson’s List”