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.

3 comments… add one
  • Donald R. Shaffer Nov 15, 2013 @ 8:35

    Hi Kevin. I also reviewed this book. It is nice to read someone’s else’s perspective on it. The battle sometimes gets lost in all Barnickle’s historical context, but for a battle that was this short and, except for it being an early use of black troops, of minor importance, I don’t see how she could have organized it any other way. It isn’t the best instance of microhistory I have seen, but it isn’t the worst either.

    • Kevin Levin Nov 15, 2013 @ 8:48

      I do hope that it is clear that I believe the book is worth reading. Overall, it’s an excellent book.

      • Donald R. Shaffer Nov 15, 2013 @ 8:56

        I agree with you. I was just thinking some of the classics of microhistory that do what this author does but more smoothly. Books like Laurel Thatcher Ulrich’s _A Midwife’s Tale_ or John Demos’ _The Unredeemed Captive_. Barnickel is a little stilted at times, but definitely good scholarship worth reading.

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