Today is the Official Publication Day for *Searching for Black Confederates*

Though the book has been shipping to those of you who pre-ordered it, today is the official publication day for Searching for Black Confederates: The Civil War’s Most Persistent Myth. The response has been overwhelming and I can’t thank those of you enough who have taken the opportunity to pre-order the book. The sales thus far have far exceeded all of my expectations.

You should start to see the book in your local chain store or independent bookseller. Of course, you can order it online direct from UNC Press, at Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. Please consider supporting your local independent bookseller if at all possible.

A number of you have asked and I am happy to report that you can now order the audio book version, which is narrated by JD Jackson, who I think did a great job.

Please consider leaving a review at Amazon and Goodreads. I certainly don’t expect all 5 star reviews, but it should help to balance out the cranks who clearly have not read the book and are only interested in attacking me personally.

Kevin Levin has provided this mythic problem what it dearly needs: a carefully researched and beautifully written history, first of wartime itself, then of the Lost Cause memorial period, and then of the Civil War sesquicentennial in which the question of blacks in gray would not die. Levin’s book needs to be widely read as a rich history drawing the life out of a lethal narrative of wish fulfillment.–David W. Blight, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom


Reviews should begin to appear in the next few weeks. Pat Young and Keith Harris were kind enough to take the time to read and review the book on their respective blogs, which I appreciate. Rebecca Onion at Slate recently invited me to talk about the book.

I’ve recorded a steady stream of podcasts, which should appear over the next few weeks. For now, check out my interviews with Brian Litvak at New Books in History and with my buddy, Keith Harris. I also had the opportunity to talk about the book with The Civil War Monitor.

Recent Op-Eds

Still on the fence about ordering the book? Here are a couple of recent op-eds that have appeared in The Washington Post, Smithsonian Magazine, and The Atlantic. They all touch on themes that are explored much more thoroughly in the book.

Well documented and thoroughly researched book on the myth of the Black Confederate ‘SOLDIER ‘. Highly readable and informative. If one is interested in the history and development of the mythical Black Confederate ‘SOLDIER ‘ this is the go to book.Amazon Review

Book Tour

Tomorrow evening I kick off my book tour with a stop at the Atlanta History Center. This is the perfect place to speak given the recent opening of their renovated cyclorama and especially their work to help the Atlanta community better understand the history of Confederate monuments.

The tour includes stops in Washington, D.C. Richmond, Baltimore, Frederick, MD, Boston, Raleigh, and Chapel Hill. I am still accepting invitations to speak from across the country so please feel free to contact me if you would like to schedule an event. In addition to speaking about the book, I am more than happy to lead a workshop for teachers and/or students.

My talk at the National Archives will be live streamed for those of you who can’t make it and CSPAN is going to record my presentationa at the Massachusetts Historical Society on Sept. 18.

More than once I thought about abandoning this project altogether, but the response to the book has more than convinced me that I made the right decision. Thanks to all of you for your continued support.

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19 comments… add one
  • Terry Sep 20, 2019 @ 5:39

    Looking forward to your Lecture at Hood College. Is anything included in your book regarding Richard Poplar? He is cited on the Soldiers and Sailors Database as a Confederate Private 13th Regiment, Virginia Cavalry (12th Months, 1861-62); According to a Roll of Prisoner of War, he was captured at Green Castle on July 5, 1863 and imprisoned at Point Lookout; he was received at Coxes Landing, VA on Feb 14-15, 1865 and paroled as a Confederate Prisoner of War by Ro. Ould, Agent of exchange. It appears in this instance the Union recognized a person of Color as a Confederate. Was imprisonment in a POW Camp typical treatment for a captured Black? Imprisonment as a POW adds an additional perspective I had not previously considered.

    • Kevin Levin Sep 20, 2019 @ 6:32

      I do reference him in my book. No, he was not a Confederate soldier. For further reading.

  • Richard Schultz Sep 10, 2019 @ 12:06

    READ: Black Confederates & Afro- Yankees in Civil War Virginia . By : Ervin L. Jordan University. of Virginia

    • Kevin Levin Sep 11, 2019 @ 4:41

      I did.

  • Greg Sep 10, 2019 @ 0:38

    It is documented that at Brandy Station a negro man took up a position to fire upon Yankee invaders (unconfirmed if he was a free black, owning slaves or not)
    He fired on 3-4 Yankees “with effect” until several lay in wait for his exposure to fire another round; whereupon the Yank cavalry shot & killed this negro.

    • Kevin Levin Sep 10, 2019 @ 0:48

      I include an entire chapter in the book about how Confederates understood the presence of black men on the battlefield. Long story short, they did not see them as soldiers. In fact, they were ambivalent about these encounters given that the battlefield was supposed to be a place where white men exercised southern honor and martial manhood. Please read the book.

      No one during the very public debate about whether the Confederacy should enlist slaves as soldiers in 1864-65 referenced these moments as examples where black men were already serving as soldiers in the army.

    • Mike Furlan Sep 12, 2019 @ 5:55

      All the “controversy” about “Black” “Confederate” “Soldiers” could be avoided if there was a good faith effort by the proponents of such to agree on the definitions of:

      Black. There was no 23andMe back then. Maybe some men “passed” but it was a secret at the time.

      Confederate. There were other military forces other than the National army. Including some legally recognized black units the predated the war, but these men were never acknowledged by the national government.

      Soldier. As in the above. I could perform a successful heart transplant, but the American Medical Association is never going to agree that I am a doctor, unless I meet all of their other requirements. Like the old song goes:

      “I see by your outfit, that you are a cowboy.
      If I get an outfit, can I be a cowboy too?”

    • Andy Hall Sep 17, 2019 @ 10:09

      Greg, the fact that someone took time to record this incident is itself evidence that it was something noteworthy, out-of-the-ordinary. If this had been something simply expected of him as a soldier, no one would’ve paid any attention to it.

      • Kevin Levin Sep 17, 2019 @ 10:31

        Exactly. And again, it is important to note that no one involved in the debate to enlist slaves in 1864-65 referenced any of these stories as part of their overall argument for or against this proposal.

  • Scott Stemler Sep 9, 2019 @ 10:21

    Congratulations Kevin! I will be adding this book to my Civil War library.

    • Kevin Levin Sep 9, 2019 @ 12:41

      Thank you, Scott.

    • MaryDee Sep 11, 2019 @ 8:49

      I’m waiting patiently for UNC Press to ship my order. Sounds as though there’s a backlog of orders, which I hope means the book is selling well! I’m looking forward to reading it, whenever it gets here.

      • Kevin Levin Sep 11, 2019 @ 12:50

        I am sorry to hear this. Hopefully, it won’t be too much longer.

        • MaryDee Sep 19, 2019 @ 12:08

          UNC didn’t send a shipping notice, but never mind–I found the book in my mailbox yesterday! I skimmed it a bit last night and am looking forward to reading it! Unlike some others I do believe in doing a careful reading before commenting!

          • Kevin Levin Sep 19, 2019 @ 12:46

            Glad to hear it finally arrived. I hope you enjoy it.

  • Meg Groeling Sep 9, 2019 @ 10:18

    I will be reviewing your excellent book for the blog Emerging Civil War. Keep us in all the loops–who knows–you might make it to California!

    • Kevin Levin Sep 9, 2019 @ 12:41

      I look forward to reading your review, Meg. And I would love to come out to California.

  • Msb Sep 9, 2019 @ 4:11

    Happy publication day! I’m looking forward to getting my copy.

    • Kevin Levin Sep 9, 2019 @ 4:15

      Thank you.

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