Best of 2007

It’s time for the third annual installment of the best in Civil War books and blogs.  This is an opportunity to acknowledge those books that have been both a pleasure to read and which have left me with a great deal to ponder.  Once again this list reflects just a fraction of what I’ve read during 2007.  Congratulations to the winners.  Awards are in the mail.

Civil War Memory’s Hall of Fame: I developed this new category to honor some of my favorite readers.  This blog has attracted some real characters over the past two years and their devotion to this site and conviction that I am at war with all things southern is worth acknowledging.  I had a few people in mind for this award, but in the end I had to go with Jim (a.k.a. Anonymous).  When it comes to loyal readers few can match the amount of time Jim spends on my site or the time it has taken him to write negative feedback on at least 20 history blogs.  I couldn’t ask for better publicity.

Best Blog: HNN’s Cliopatria Note: All that needs to be said is that I begin each day with Ralph and the gang.

Best Civil War Blog: Craig Warren’s Civil War Literature.

Favorite History Book of 2007: Daniel Walker Howe, What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007).  Note: I am only about half-way through the book, but it is already clear that this is the work of a very talented historian.

Best Overall Civil War Military History: Chandra Manning, What This Cruel War Was Over: Soldiers, Slavery, and the Civil War (New York, Knopf, 2007.

Best Campaign Study: Scott C. Patchan, Shenandoah Summer: The 1864 Valley Campaign (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2007). 

Best Biography: Elizabeth Brown Pryor, Reading the Man: A Portrait of Robert E. Lee Through His Private Letters (New York: Viking, 2007).  Note: This is easily the single best volume on Lee.

Best Confederate Study: Jason Phillips, Diehard Rebels: The Confederate Culture of Invincibility (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2007).

Best Union Study: Garrett Epps, Democracy Reborn: The Fourteenth Amendment and the Fight for Equal Rights in Post-Civil War America (New York: Holt Publishers, 2007 [paperback edition]).

Best Slavery Study: David W. Blight, ed., A Slave No More: Two Men Who Escaped to Freedom (New York: Harcourt, 2007).

Best Memory Study: Robert Cook, Troubled Commemoration: The American Civil War Centennial, 1961-1965 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2007).

Best Edited Collection: John Y. Simon, Harold Holzer, and Dawn Vogel, eds., Lincoln Revisited (New York: Fordham University Press, 2007).

Best Social History: Aaron Sheehan-Dean, Why Confederates Fought: Family & Nation in Civil War Virginia (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2007).

Best Myth Buster: Micki McElya, Clinging to Mammy: The Faithful Slave in Twentieth-Century America (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2007).

Some good things to look forward to in early 2008: Joseph Glatthaar’s, General Lee’s Army: From Victory to Collapse (March), Drew G. Faust, The Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War (January), and William Lee Miller, President Lincoln: The Duty of a Statesman (February).

7 comments… add one
  • Kevin Dec 27, 2007 @ 6:15

    Peter, — Thanks for the reference.

    Charles, — Thanks for the kind words and for continuing to read.

  • Charles Bowery Dec 27, 2007 @ 2:52

    Congratulations again on a great blog. It helps me stay connected to Civil War scholarship. Keep it up!
    LOL about the tempest you caused (again) on Civil Warriors. Awesome. 🙂

  • Peter Dec 26, 2007 @ 23:26

    “The Cherokee Nation in the Civil War” by Clarissa Confer and published by University of Oklahoma Press is the best Native American Civil War study of the past year.

  • Woodrowfan Dec 26, 2007 @ 11:30

    I second the vote for “What Hath God….” The early 19th century has never been of great interest to me (at least compared to the late 19th & early 20th) but I read “What Hath….” in a few days. It’s very well-written and shows an impressive grasp of the period.

    As for the others on your list, I see a few I will be looking to buy at the AHA in a week or so….

  • John Maass Dec 26, 2007 @ 8:38

    I agree: the book on Lee, “Reading the Man,” is awesome.

  • Kevin Dec 26, 2007 @ 8:13

    I don’t know of anything published during the last year on that particular subject. To be completely honest it is not a subject I know much about.

  • flash Dec 26, 2007 @ 8:05

    This is a great list; was there one that discussed Native Americans and their role in the Civil War that you think we should be aware of?

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