The Bookshelf

  • SCAFIDI: To the Bramble and the Briar (2014)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 11/19/2014 Author: Jean Huets | 

    Scafidi's poetry voices those elusive truths that we reach for when standing alone on a monument-strewn battlefield, wandering a sleepy National Cemetery, coming face to face with the photograph of an unnamed soldier...

  • KREISER & ALLRED (eds.): The Civil War in Popular Culture (2013)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 11/19/2014 Author: Caroline E. Janney  | 

    This incredibly diverse volume is composed of essays from academic historians, literary scholars, and public historians...it offers an array of insights into how the war continues to pervade modern American culture, both shaping our understanding of this pivotal moment in history and informing how we perceive ourselves in relation to the past.

  • ZOLA: We Called Him Rabbi Abraham (2014)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 11/12/2014 Author: Howard B. Rock | 

    This timely, well researched, and immensely thorough book will give readers valuable insight and understanding into the role that Lincoln played within the various Jewish communities both before and during his presidency. Most importantly, it shows just how deeply Lincoln became embedded into the saga of American Jewry, despite the fact that most Jews and their families immigrated long after his...

  • HUBBELL (ed.): On Lincoln (2014)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 11/12/2014 Author: Jonathan W. White | 

    This book represents some of the best scholarship on Lincoln's personal life and political career. Several of these essays are classics in the field of Lincoln studies.

  • WHITE: Emancipation, the Union Army, and the Reelection of Abraham Lincoln (2014)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 11/5/2014 Author: Allen C. Guelzo | 

    Jonathan W. White has a healthy propensity for looking where others don't, and questioning received wisdom when others don't, and this new book on the 1864 reelection of Abraham Lincoln shares both qualities equally.

  • WILLIAMS (ed.): Stonewall's Prussian Mapmaker (2014)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 10/29/2014 Author: George C. Rable  | 

    Editor Richard Brady Williams has skillfully patched together the Hinrichs manuscripts (some written in German) into this fine volume that immediately becomes an indispensable source for studying the Army of Northern Virginia from the Peninsula campaign until the end of the war.

  • SCHMIEL: Citizen-General (2014)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 10/29/2014 Author: Allan Peskin | 

    Cox's military career, which ranged from West Virginia through Antietam to Nashville, Franklin and Atlanta, is meticulously chronicled, as are the various feuds and turf wars he waged with fellow generals.

  • DEVINE: Learning from the Wounded (2014)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 10/22/2014 Author: Robert D. Hicks, Ph.D.  | 

    Devine observes that the doctors of the late nineteenth century who formed and led new medical associations and pioneered specialty fields shared the common experience of Civil War, a circumstance frequently ignored in histories of the rise of American medical science.

  • HOLZER: Lincoln and the Power of the Press (2014)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 10/22/2014 Author: John David Smith | 

    Lincoln, better than any nineteenth century politician, understood the mutual dependence between newspapermen and politicians.

  • ESCOTT: Uncommonly Savage (2014)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 10/15/2014 Author: Evan C. Rothera | 

    Paul D. Escott, an accomplished historian of the United States South, has written a monograph that is not only provocative and stimulating, but also points out a new direction for comparative histories.

  • DAVIS & GREENWALT: Hurricane from the Heavens (2014)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 10/8/2014 Author: Peter C. Vermilyea  | 

    One hundred and fifty years later, [Cold Harbor] remains largely misunderstood, thought by many to be simply a foolhardy, headlong Union dash against impenetrable Confederate earthworks.

  • ABBOTT: Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy (2014)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 10/8/2014 Author: Ashley Whitehead Luskey | 

    By appealing emotionally and intellectually to her readers, Karen Abbott has produced an impressive, first-rate work of historical non-fiction that is certain to captivate the general public and academics alike.

  • ZEITZ: Lincoln's Boys (2014)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 10/1/2014 Author: Brian Dirck  | 

    Astounding as it may seem to modern Americans, Abraham Lincoln administered a sprawling civil war for four years with an administrative staff that consisted largely of two assistants: John Hay and John Nicolay.

  • NESTER: The Age of Lincoln and the Art of American Power (2014)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 10/1/2014 Author: Frank J. Williams | 

    William Nester's insightful book demonstrates the brilliance of Abraham Lincoln and his use of power.

  • LEIGH (ed.): Co. Aytch (2014)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 9/24/2014 Author: David Schieffler | 

    Undergraduate Civil War instructors looking for a Civil War memoir that captures "the real war" with a grace and humor that even Mark Twain could appreciate would be wise to consider this new edition of Sam Watkins' classic.

  • BINNINGTON: Confederate Visions (2013)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 9/24/2014 Author: Paul Quigley | 

    Binnington's principal contribution is to draw our attention to the symbols from which Confederate nationalism was made....[This book] is bursting with valuable insights and possibilities for further study that will intrigue anyone interested in the American South's brief experiment in nation making.

  • JONES & SWORD (eds.): Gateway to the Confederacy (2014)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 9/17/2014 Author: A. Wilson Greene | 

    Whether they address traditional controversies, explore neglected aspects of the campaigns, or delve with innovation into historiography and memory, these essays unfailingly present new material and challenge conventional wisdom.

  • RUBIN: Through the Heart of Dixie (2014)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 9/17/2014 Author: Matthew C. Hulbert  | 

    Relatively few historians have examined the trek from Georgia to the Carolinas with a specific emphasis on social memory. This lack of attention is surprising when we consider, as Rubin correctly notes, how clearly the March reflected the broader war in miniature: the army, total war, larger than life commanders, violence on the homefront, and issues of emancipation all rolled into one saga.

  • MEIER: Nature's Civil War (2013)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 9/10/2014 Author: Kathleen Logothetis Thompson | 

    Battle, camp life, and long-term exposure each took their toll on soldiers and produced physical and mental ailments that threatened combat effectiveness.

  • HAMLER: Civil War Woodworking (2014)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 9/10/2014 Author: Ralph Jordan | 

    In this well written, prolifically illustrated book, master carpenter and re-enactor A.J. Hamler presents detailed and easy to follow instructions for assembling fourteen unique projects that replicate Civil War furnishings.

  • KREYLING: A Late Encounter with the Civil War (2014)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 9/3/2014 Author: Edward L. Ayers | 

    As the sesquicentennial of the American Civil War draws to a close, people are certain to reflect on the successes and failures of the last four years. We are fortunate that one of the first reflections comes from a leading literary scholar who brings fresh energy to topics that have become worn and familiar from frequent handling.

  • VENET: A Changing Wind (2014)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 8/27/2014 Author: Brian P. Luskey | 

    Grounded in a variety of compelling primary sources...this book encourages us to focus on how the southern middle class, urban development, and the war influenced and shaped each other.

  • JENKINS: The Battle of Peach Tree Creek (2014)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 8/27/2014 Author: Keith S. Bohannon | 

    The author's intimate familiarity with the terrain of the Peach Tree Creek battlefield allows him to note the exact positions of units down to the brigade and regimental levels...a significant contribution to understanding one of the major battles of the 1864 Atlanta Campaign.

  • FRESE: Concord and the Civil War (2014)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 8/20/2014 Author: Tyler Sperrazza  | 

    Frese pays particular attention to the close connections between Concord and Boston, effectively illustrating the complex web of social relationships in the North during the Civil War.

  • MACKOWSKI & WHITE: Simply Murder (2013)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 8/20/2014 Author: Catherine M. Wright | 

    This engaging volume, part of the "Emerging Civil War Series," is a useful resource for anyone seeking to expand their knowledge of the Battle of Fredericksburg.

  • PRINCE: Stories of the South (2014)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 8/13/2014 Author: Nina Silber | 

    K. Stephen Prince dissects the tremendous power of stories and narratives that offered Americans new ways to imagine the South in the post-Civil War era....[they] exerted a commanding political influence that ultimately dissuaded northerners from intervening in Southern racial practices.

  • KORDA: Clouds of Glory (2014)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 8/6/2014 Author: Allen C. Guelzo | 

    In an age of aspirations to cosmopolitan attitudes and global interdependence, the concept of treason seems almost offensively medieval. It is, however, the central act and fact of the life of Robert E. Lee.

  • O'CONNELL: Fierce Patriot (2014)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 8/6/2014 Author: Thomas J. Rowland | 

    O'Connell eschews a strictly biographical or analytical study of Sherman's military career and instead focuses on three specific aspects of this complex and idiosyncratic man. The author seeks to determine what made Sherman tick as a strategist, as a leader, and as a family man.

  • DIOUF: Slavery's Exiles (2014)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 7/30/2014 Author: Christopher James Bonner | 

    Diouf broadens our understanding of the varieties of enslaved experience, as well as the many ways that black peoples' actions destabilized the peculiar institution.

  • SMITH (ed.): Race and Recruitment (2013)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 7/30/2014 Author: Kevin M. Levin | 

    These essays....provide the reader with a sense of how the field has evolved over the past few decades and where we might be headed in our understanding of the Civil War era

  • GOTTFRIED: The Maps of the Bristoe Station and Mine Run Campaigns (2013)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 7/23/2014 Author: Zachery A. Fry  | 

    Students of the war's Eastern Theater should purchase this unique book while they can because it offers the best and most coherent narrative of the actions in northern Virginia between Gettysburg and the Wilderness.

  • SMITH & LOWERY (eds.): The Dunning School (2013)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 7/16/2014 Author: John C. Rodrigue | 

    How could otherwise honorable and decent men and women, who ostensibly dedicated themselves to rationale, scholarly discourse, have been so utterly blinded by the racism that was pervasive in their society?

  • EMBERTON: Beyond Redemption (2013)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 7/16/2014 Author: Christian McWhirter | 

    Carole Emberton challenges the period's prevailing narratives and forces readers to consider how violence permeated America's political culture.

  • DUNKERLY, PFANZ & RUTH: No Turning Back (2014)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 7/9/2014 Author: Alfred C. Young III | 

    The authors infuse their narratives of the Overland Campaign with interesting, humorous, and tragic anecdotes.

  • LONG: Doctoring Freedom (2012)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 7/9/2014 Author: Jonathan Lande | 

    Long identifies the war as a pivotal moment in the transformation of medical culture for African-Americans. Black military service and battlefield wounds prompted nothing short of a revolution in meaning and self-understanding.

  • CASTEL (with SIMPSON): Victors in Blue (2011)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 7/9/2014 Author: Jonathan M. Steplyk | 

    Albert Castel offers concise and accessible narratives of the major battles and campaigns of the Union war effort, engaging examinations of the feuds and rivalries within the Union high command, and bold arguments with the potential to foster spirited debate among scholars and buffs.

  • PLUMB (ed.): Your Brother in Arms (2011)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 7/2/2014 Author: Robert Wooster  | 

    George McClelland left his home a boy, but returned from the war a man.

  • MORGAN: The Civil War Lover's Guide to New York City (2013)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 7/2/2014 Author: John Patrick Riley | 

    Bill Morgan has written a wonderful guidebook to the Civil War in New York City.

  • HAGER: Word by Word (2013)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 6/25/2014 Author: Julie Saville  | 

    Hager challenges an ideology of literacy that has linked mastery of writing to the achievement of personal self-determination, economic mobility, and social recognition.

  • SPARKS: Where the Negroes Are Masters (2013)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 6/25/2014 Author: Caree A. Banton | 

    Sparks demystifies the dynamics of the slave trade to show colossal, interconnected, and unseen dimensions of the Atlantic world system.

  • VARNEY: General Grant and the Rewriting of History (2013)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 6/18/2014 Author: Jason M. Frawley | 

    Historians have at times given Grant's version of events a pass.

  • COBB, HICKS & HOLT: Battle of Big Bethel (2013) Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 6/11/2014 Author: Jeffry D. Wert | 

    Big Bethel ultimately became a minor footnote in the history of the Civil War, its casualty list nothing like those generated by the slaughterhouses of Shiloh, Antietam, and Gettysburg.

  • QUARSTEIN: Big Bethel (2011)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 6/11/2014 Author: Clay Mountcastle | 

    Quarstein's book raises a useful question for Civil War scholars. What metric should be used when determining the significance of a battle or event?

  • RACINE: Living a Big War in a Small Place (2013)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 6/4/2014 Author: Jacqueline Glass Campbell | 

    While Spartanburg, South Carolina, may have been distant from the battlefield, it nevertheless reeled from the larger social, cultural, and economic impacts of the conflagration.

  • MINGUS: Confederate General William "Extra Billy" Smith (2013)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 5/28/2014 Author: Brian Steel Wills  | 

    What emerges most clearly in this volume is the portrait of a cantankerous but conscientious political figure in the South during the turbulent years of the Civil War era. Smith's was a voice that rarely surpassed those of his contemporaries, but it deserves to be heard.

  • REINHART (ed.): Yankee Dutchmen under Fire (2013)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 5/21/2014 Author: Sarah Handley-Cousins | 

    This collection of letters, and Reinhart's contextual analysis, constitute an important addition to the scholarship on the experience of immigrants during the American Civil War.

  • COHEN: Reconstructing the Campus (2012)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 5/21/2014 Author: Julie A. Mujic | 

    Cohen's study investigates how the war propelled southern universities and colleges toward wholesale changes.

  • MARTEN: America's Corporal (2014)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 5/14/2014 Author: Guy R. Hasegawa | 

    A recipient of a pair of army-supplied artificial limbs, but little else in terms of government assistance, Tanner quickly began to show the resilience, drive, and ambition that would characterize the remainder of his life.

  • DAVIS & GREENWALT: Bloody Autumn (2014)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 5/7/2014 Author: Jonathan A. Noyalas  | 

    Davis and Greenwalt's study serves as a nice introduction for those completely unfamiliar with Sheridan's 1864 Shenandoah Campaign: a campaign which finally wrested the Shenandoah Valley from a once firm Confederate grip, aided President Abraham Lincoln in his bid for reelection in November 1864, and added to the pressure which ultimately forced the Confederacy's surrender.

  • MACKOWSKI & WHITE: Chancellorsville's Forgotten Front (2013)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 5/7/2014 Author: Joshua Lynn  | 

    Civil War armies were unwieldy things, and their size often outpaced communications, logistics, and command. Union failings at Chancellorsville stemmed not merely from Hooker's braggadocio or from Sedgwick's plodding, but from the fact that efficient communication was not possible between the army commander and his subordinate.

  • WOODWARD: Marching Masters (2014)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 4/30/2014 Author: Kenneth W. Noe | 

    Woodward thoroughly delineates the multifaceted relationship between Johnny Reb and slavery. Although few read very deeply in proslavery ideology, Confederate soldiers had thoroughly absorbed the wider anti-abolition currents of antebellum Southern life.

  • LUEBKE (ed.): The Story of a Thousand (2011) Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 4/23/2014 Author: Carolyn L. Karcher  | 

    Civil War buffs, scholars, and teachers searching for engaging primary texts to assign in Civil War courses will all welcome this facsimile reprint edition of Albion W. Tourgee's classic regimental history, enhanced by Peter C. Luebke's superb introduction.

  • BLIGHT (ed.): My Bondage and My Freedom (2014)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 4/23/2014 Author: John M. Rudy | 

    Blight's ample notes and observations will offer imaginative professors innumerable ways to discuss with students how we read texts, what we can observe as historians, and when we should doubt the people of the past.

  • DORN: Challenges on the Emmaus Road (2013)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 4/16/2014 Author: George C. Rable | 

    Like many devout Americans, northern and southern Episcopalians seldom examined the cultural assumptions of their day with a critical eye. And though they did not exactly embrace civil religion, their often gentle faith failed to test the sectional pieties of the war years.

  • VARON: Appomattox (2013)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 4/9/2014 Author: Sarah Bowman | 

    Rather than emphasizing the finality of military defeat, Varon stresses the uncertainty of the days, weeks, and months after Appomattox. Following Lee's surrender, various groups mobilized memories in a bid to legitimize their visions of postwar Reconstruction.

  • DAL LAGO: William Lloyd Garrison and Giuseppe Mazzini (2013)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 4/2/2014 Author: Evan C. Rothera | 

    Dal Lago offers a thoughtful discussion of the parallel lives of radical abolitionist Garrison and Italian activist Mazzini.

  • KREISER: Defeating Lee (2011)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 3/26/2014 Author: John Hoptak | 

    From the slaughter in the West Woods to the murderous slugfest at Spotsylvania's Mule Shoe, the Second Corps of the Army of the Potomac witnessed some of the most horrific combat of the Civil War.

  • ADAMS: Living Hell (2014)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 3/19/2014 Author: Ian Isherwood | 

    In Adams' hands, the Civil War's legacy is unmitigated personal horror, societal suffering, and political factionalism. No triumphalism or romance here. War is hardship.

  • GLEESON: The Green and the Gray (2013)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 3/12/2014 Author: Brian P. Luskey | 

    This interesting new book answers an important question: how did Irish immigrants to the American South during the Civil War era determine their national identity?

  • LIVELY: Calamity at Chancellorsville (2013)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 3/12/2014 Author: Thaddeus M. Romansky | 

    The author's microhistorical approach suggests that the success of Jackson's battle plan contributed directly to his death.

  • ROBERTSON (ed.): Diary of a Southern Refugee During the War (2013)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 3/5/2014 Author: Ashley Whitehead Luskey | 

    Robertson has brought impressive clarity to one of the richest and most enlightening diaries of the Civil War era. His detailed research and annotations provide an important new window into critical elements of the female refugee experience in Richmond.

  • ASH: The Black Experience in the Civil War South (2013) Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 2/26/2014 Author: Rachel A. Shelden | 

    Ash provides a brief but comprehensive look at the southern black experience during the war years.

  • EARLE & BURKE (eds.): Bleeding Kansas, Bleeding Missouri (2013)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 2/19/2014 Author: Kenneth W. Noe | 

    The contributors again and again establish that the counties along the Kansas-Missouri border comprised a single region with both a common past and cultural similarities that residents became increasingly loath to admit.

  • SIMPSON: The Civil War in the East (2013)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 2/12/2014 Author: Elizabeth R. Varon | 

    Simpson aims to provide a holistic analysis of military operations, taking into account politics, public opinion, geography, and logistics.

  • McDANIEL: The Problem of Democracy in the Age of Slavery (2013)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 2/5/2014 Author: Ian Delahanty  | 

    Readers of McDaniel's deeply researched and elegantly crafted book will gain not only a new perspective on Garrisonian abolitionists, but more importantly a clear understanding of how the antislavery struggle altered the trajectory of democratic thought in America and abroad.

  • LAUSE: Price's Lost Campaign (2011)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 1/29/2014 Author: Gordon Berg | 

    When he is not regaling the reader with his erudition, Lause tells a compelling story and dispels many of the myths that have grown up surrounding this marginalized campaign.

  • CONROY: Our One Common Country (2014)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 1/22/2014 Author: Harold Holzer | 

    Historians take note: Conroy shows that it is possible to write exciting prose with scholarly integrity intact.

  • THOMSON (ed.): We Are in His Hands Whether We Live or Die (2013)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 1/15/2014 Author: George C. Rable | 

    The selected antebellum and Civil War letters of Charles Henry Howard -- younger brother of General Oliver Otis Howard -- are a valuable addition to the University of Tennessee Press's excellent "Voices of the Civil War" series.

  • HOLZER & GABBARD (eds.): 1863: Lincoln's Pivotal Year (2013)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 1/8/2014 Author: Keith Altavilla | 

    1863: Lincoln's Pivotal Year sees eleven prominent historians of Lincoln and the war examine the tumultuous twelve months that transformed American history...

  • BORCHARD: Abraham Lincoln and Horace Greeley (2011)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 1/8/2014 Author: Matthew Isham | 

    While this book amply demonstrates the political ideals that Greeley and Lincoln and shared, it is not quite as convincing in portraying the two men as firm political allies...

  • WITTENBERG: Protecting the Flank at Gettysburg (2013)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 1/1/2014 Author: Scott Manning | 

    Wittenberg wrote this book for people who want to understand the battle and its participants, as well as visit and interpret the battlefield. Anyone interested in Gettysburg will benefit from this deeper dive into one of the countless duels that make up this battle...

  • HESS: The Knoxville Campaign (2012)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 1/1/2014 Author: Lawrence Kreiser, Jr. | 

    For readers wanting a deeper insight into either the Knoxville Campaign or the workings of Civil War armies in general, this is an excellent starting point...

  • FINSETH (ed.):The American Civil War (2013)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 12/25/2013 Author: James Hill Welborn III | 

    This second edition of Ian Finseth's literary and historical anthology of that conflict surveys the forest as a complex ecosystem comprised of many individual and inter-related trees...

  • HORTON & KLEINTOP (eds.): Race, Slavery, and the Civil War (2011)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 12/25/2013 Author: Elsabe Dixon | 

    The historians did not say anything radically new about African Americans or race or slavery, but they did point to personal narratives and stories from that period that emphasized a shared humanity and history among blacks and whites. Their stories pointed to the need for the American public to desegregate their memories as well as their public life...

  • Divided & United: The Songs of the Civil War (2013)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 12/18/2013 Author: Gregg Andrews | 

    Divided & United likely will fail to achieve its noble goal of healing and political reconciliation, but it treats us to brilliant musical renditions of songs from the era of the Civil War...

  • MCQUEEN: 12 Years a Slave (2013)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 12/11/2013 Author: Jason Phillips | 

    12 Years a Slave takes us inside the slave ship, market, and cabin, while keeping us in our place... we can empathize and remember the slaves, but we cannot free them or be them...

  • New Review Editor for The Civil War Monitor!Read More

    Category: The Bookshelf Posted: 12/9/2013 Author: Matthew C. Hulbert | 

    With my tenure nearing its end, I am very pleased to introduce Brian Matthew Jordan as the incoming book review editor of The Civil War Monitor effective January 15, 2014.

  • CLEMENS (ed.): The Maryland Campaign Vol. II (2012)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 12/4/2013 Author: George C. Rable | 

    In this often Sisyphean project, Clemens has succeeded magnificently, and we now eagerly await the appearance of the third volume...

  • WHITE: Confederate General Leonidas Polk (2013)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 12/4/2013 Author: Brian S. Wills | 

    Cheryl White has produced a sincere and sympathetic treatment of Polk. Her work points once more to the role this enigmatic figure played in peace and war, which is no inconsequential achievement of its own...

  • NATHANS: To Free a Family (2012)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 11/27/2013 Author: James L. Roark | 

    This is an exceedingly well-told tale. Nathans braids hundreds of disparate strands of evidence into an eloquent narrative...

  • PATCHAN: The Last Battle of Winchester (2013)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 11/20/2013 Author: A. Wilson Greene | 

    The Last Battle of Winchester fills a gap in the military history of the Civil War and does so well. Those who enjoy good old fashioned "bugles and sabres" history will revel in this book, which should stand as the premier treatment of its subject for the foreseeable future.

  • BARNICKEL: Milliken's Bend (2013)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 11/13/2013 Author: Kevin M. Levin | 

    Remembering the men who served in the African brigade and other units as well as what their stories tell us about the broader war in the summer of 1863 is not only appropriate, but essential. With the publication of this book, Linda Barnickel has helped us to take a giant leap forward toward achieving that goal.

  • HOOD: John Bell Hood (2013)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 11/6/2013 Author: Carole Emberton | 

    Ironically, in his efforts to prove that John Bell Hood was not the man some historians have made him out to be, the author flattens his personality and motivations, thereby making him a far less interesting man than he might have been...

  • LINK: Atlanta, Cradle of the New South (2013)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 10/30/2013 Author: John J. Langdale III | 

    Link's book effectively reminds the reader of a time when the Civil War war was not a distant abstraction, but a lived reality in the southern and American imagination...

  • SERRANO: Last of the Blue and Gray (2013)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 10/23/2013 Author: Leah Richier | 

    Last of the Blue and Gray provides readers with the fascinating story of the last Civil War veterans' final days and a much-needed dose of skepticism regarding Americans' blinding love of times before...

  • REVIEW ESSAY: Mosby's Raids (2013) and Morgan's Great Raid (2013)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 10/15/2013 Author: Matthew E. Stanley | 

    Although neither work is footnoted, thus limiting their scholarly value, both Morgan's Great Raid and Mosby's Raids are solid introductions to an important and captivating Civil War topic...

  • WESLEY: The Politics of Faith (2013)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 10/9/2013 Author: D. H. Dilbeck | 

    Despite first-rate works on religion and politics in the antebellum era by Richard Carwardine, Daniel Walker Howe, C.C. Goen, and Mitchell Snay, among many others, no literature of comparable size and quality exists for the Civil War era. Timothy L. Wesley has gone a long way toward remedying this odd omission...

  • KEEHN: Knights of the Golden Circle (2013)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 10/2/2013 Author: Frank J. Cirillo | 

    Despite its flaws, however, Keehn's extensively researched book makes a strong contribution to the historiography of secession. No other scholar has offered as detailed and informative an account of the Knights as Keehn...

  • BEARSS: The Petersburg Campaign (2012)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 9/25/2013 Author: Brooks D. Simpson | 

    For those readers looking for accounts of the individual actions during the first three months of combat along the Petersburg front, this volume fits the bill. Each action is rendered in straightforward prose with an occasional flash of characteristic Bearss humor...

  • DERDEN: The World's Largest Prison (2012)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 9/18/2013 Author: Angela M. Zombek | 

    A military prison need not have operated for long to warrant remembrance. That is the primary premise from which John K. Derden begins to record the short history of Camp Lawton Prison...

  • The New York Times: Disunion (2013)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 9/11/2013 Author: Christopher Morris | 

    There are essays on the profoundly consequential, the great battles, the momentous decisions, and the accidents that changed everything. And it is all here in easy to digest chunks - perfect for bedtime reading - that will engage readers from scholars well versed in the subject to first-timers...

  • JANNEY: Remembering the Civil War (2013)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 9/4/2013 Author: Bruce E. Baker | 

    With a book like this, it is impossible to say that Janney's interpretation has decisively defeated Blight's, but she has produced a very thorough and carefully researched study to challenge what had been the conventional wisdom in the field...

  • TAGG: The Battles That Made Abraham Lincoln (2012)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 8/28/2013 Author: Brian Dirck | 

    The basic premise of Battles is sound - Lincoln was indeed highly unpopular in some quarters - and its research is solid enough. But its tone and approach has a rather overwrought quality...

  • BOYKO: Blood and Daring (2013)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 8/21/2013 Author: Kenneth W. Noe | 

    The author's apparent lack of familiarity with American history and uneven research ultimately result in a deeply flawed volume when it comes to the American Civil War...

  • ERWIN: Guerrilla Hunters in Civil War Missouri (2013)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 8/14/2013 Author: Amy L. Fluker | 

    James Erwin's Guerrilla Hunters in Civil War Missouri introduces a number of militia units, almost entirely overlooked by historians and Civil War enthusiasts alike, who helped defend Missourians against guerrilla attacks...

  • HESS: Kennesaw Mountain (2013)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 8/7/2013 Author: William A. Link | 

    Kennesaw Mountain is unabashedly a battlefield story in all of its complexity and confusion... Mostly a narrative, Hess is at his best when he steps backs and explains and interprets...

  • MILLER (ed.): A Punishment on the Nation (2012)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 7/31/2013 Author: Barton A. Myers | 

    As Civil War historians move toward rebuilding the inner world of soldiers, exploring how they thought as opposed to simply surveying what they thought, Haven's letters present another valuable window...

  • MAXWELL: Copperhead (2013)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 7/24/2013 Author: Megan Kate Nelson | 

    The press for Ron Maxwell's new film Copperhead promises a "story of the violent passions and burning feuds that set ablaze the homefront during the Civil War." What it delivers is a yawner, from its first moments to its last...

  • LEVINE: The Fall of the House of Dixie (2013)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 7/17/2013 Author: Yael Sternhell | 

    The Fall of the House of Dixie succeeds in retelling the story of the Civil War with slavery as its organizing theme, thus serving as a useful bridge between the scholarly community and a broader readership...

  • DANIEL: Battle of Stones River (2012)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 7/17/2013 Author: William D. Hickox | 

    The author melds a detailed narrative of the battle with an appreciation for its strategic and political implications, arguing that this Union victory in the winter of 1863 set the stage for the final triumph two years later...

  • JOHNSON: River of Dark Dreams (2013)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 7/10/2013 Author: Christine E. Sears | 

    Johnson's thought-provoking, wide-ranging work will appeal to historians as well as those interested in slavery, Southern history, and nineteenth century history...

  • LOPERFIDO (ed.): A Surgeon's Tale (2011)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 7/10/2013 Author: Dillon Carroll | 

    A Surgeon's Tale is very interesting and would intrigue anyone interested in the Civil War experience. James Benton's letters raise several important issues for scholars of Civil War medicine to pursue...

  • PETRUZZI & STANLEY: The Gettysburg Campaign in Numbers and Losses (2013)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 7/3/2013 Author: Brian Matthew Jordan | 

    This is one of those rare books that will be equally useful to both amateur historians, who will find it an accessible guide, and seasoned scholars, who will wrestle with its implications for decades...

  • REARDON & VOSSLER: A Field Guide to Gettysburg (2013)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 7/3/2013 Author: Thom Bassett | 

    This unique book enables all readers to better comprehend the places, events, and memories that make up the battle of Gettysburg. As such, no matter how limited or extensive one's Civil War library, it deserves a special place on the shelf...

  • FULLER (ed.): The Election of 1860 Reconsidered (2013)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 6/26/2013 Author: Elizabeth R. Varon | 

    This volume is just the sort of reassessment that one hoped the sesquicentennial would occasion. The essays work as stand-alone primers, accessible to non-specialists, and as keen analyses offering new insights for specialists...

  • BALLARD: Grant at Vicksburg (2013)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 6/19/2013 Author: Samuel Watson | 

    Grant at Vicksburg is much more than a biography or campaign study. The depth of Michael Ballard's research into Grant's correspondence and routine make it a study in command, control, communications, and intelligence (what Grant knew and when he knew it)...

  • DAVIS: What the Yankees Did to Us (2012)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 6/12/2013 Author: Frank Towers | 

    General William Tecumseh Sherman was a very bad man. This is the main point of Stephen Davis' exhaustive history of the Union capture of Atlanta in 1864...

  • KELMAN: A Misplaced Massacre (2013)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 6/5/2013 Author: Andrew H. Fisher | 

    Kelman deserves praise for bringing it to our attention at this moment, lest we forget that many Native Americans gave the last full measure of devotion to their own nations in the midst of the American Civil War...

  • FINCK: Divided Loyalties (2012)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 5/29/2013 Author: Anne Marshall | 

    This volume will be a valuable resource to anyone interested in how and why Kentucky navigated such a singular political and military course during the first year of the Civil War...

  • JORDAN: Unholy Sabbath (2012)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 5/29/2013 Author: Kaylynn L. Washnock | 

    This newly crafted view of South Mountain and how veterans have chosen to remember - or in the case of many Confederates forget this battle - restores the men who fought there to a prominent place in memory...

  • ROBINS (ed.): They Have Left Us Here To Die (2011)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 5/29/2013 Author: Lauren K. Thompson | 

    In They Have Left Us Here to Die, Robins uses Sgt. Adair's experience as a lens to investigate the broader framework of the Confederate prison camp network during the last year of the war...

  • HASEGAWA: Mending Broken Soldiers (2012)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 5/22/2013 Author: Brian Craig Miller | 

    In his newest study, Guy Hasegawa examines efforts on behalf of the Union and Confederacy to supply prosthetic limbs during the Civil War...

  • BERGERON: Andrew Johnson's Civil War (2011)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 5/22/2013 Author: Andrew Prymak | 

    While not denying Johnson's more sinister traits, Bergeron contends that historians need to evaluate the man and his career through other lenses in addition to those centering upon his racism and stubbornness...

  • AYERS & MARTIN (eds.): America on the Eve of the Civil War (2010)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 5/22/2013 Author: Katherine Brackett | 

    America on the Eve of the Civil War is a fairly quick read and one that is good for both the general public and trained historians. The depth of information about Richmond compliments the breadth available on national concerns in the 1850s, which allows the book to seem broad and specific at the same time...

  • GUELZO: Gettysburg: The Last Invasion (2013)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 5/15/2013 Author: A. Wilson Greene | 

    With the appearance of Gettysburg: The Last Invasion, Allen Guelzo takes his place among the very elite chroniclers of the Civil War's most enduring military drama. Can anyone win a third Lincoln Prize?...

  • GALLAGHER: Becoming Confederates (2013)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 5/8/2013 Author: Matt Gallman | 

    With Becoming Confederates, Gallagher presents a more nuanced approach for understanding what drove individual behavior... [and] proposes a template for assessing the behavior of the Civil War participants, both military and civilian...

  • OAKES: Freedom National (2012)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 5/1/2013 Author: Glenn D. Brasher | 

    When an eminent nineteenth-century historian tackles this topic we must pay attention, especially when he promises radically new interpretations. Oakes indeed argues much that challenges previous historiography, although not always successfully...

  • GOURLEY: Diverging Loyalties (2011)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 4/24/2013 Author: Christopher Tucker | 

    Bruce T. Gourley's Diverging Loyalties: Baptists in Middle Georgia During the Civil War is an engrossing, enlightening exploration of our nation?s greatest trauma, as seen through the eyes of a unique source: that is, the Baptist community of one southern state...

  • TEWELL: A Self-Evident Lie (2013)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 4/17/2013 Author: Barbara Gannon | 

    Ironically, the falsehood discussed in Jeremy J. Tewell's important study, A Self-Evident Lie: Southern Slavery and the Threat to American Freedom would not be considered a lie today...

  • ERWIN: Guerrillas in Civil War Missouri (2012)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 4/10/2013 Author: Joseph M. Beilein Jr. | 

    While this book is not a work of professional history per se, it provides a well-organized, concise, and synthetic overview of the guerrilla war in Missouri that serves as a helpful guide through the history of the conflict for those who are not well-versed in the existing literature...

  • QUARSTEIN: The CSS Virginia (2012)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 4/3/2013 Author: Craig Swain | 

    This most complete study of the CSS Virginia is a welcome addition to any bookshelf and complements a similar work done by the author on the USS Monitor.

  • SCOTT & HEBRARD: Freedom Papers (2012)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 3/27/2013 Author: Wilma King | 

    Readers who embark on the Atlantic Odyssey with the Tinchants (and the authors) will agree that it is a memorable journey well worth the taking...

  • DIRCK: Abraham Lincoln and White America (2012)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 3/20/2013 Author: George C. Rable | 

    Abraham Lincoln and White America offers new insights without the jargon and theoretical huffing and puffing that often accompany such works. Here is a fine Lincoln scholar at the top of his game, and the result is a stimulating book that will be of great value to scholars and students alike...

  • LUBET: John Brown's Spy (2012)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 3/20/2013 Author: Miles Smith | 

    Lubet's work will no doubt fascinate Civil War buffs and historians alike and contribute a much-needed work of legal history to a crowded Civil War Era historiography. The courtroom drama is an excellent one...

  • DAVIS (ed.): Bully for the Band! (2012)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 3/13/2013 Author: David Schieffler | 

    Although Bully for the Band does not tread any new interpretative ground, it is a nice addition to the voluminous collection of published primary sources from the Civil War era...

  • BOMAN: Lincoln and Citizens' Rights in Civil War Missouri (2011)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 3/6/2013 Author: Zach Garrison | 

    As a wartime president tasked with holding together a country ripping at the seams, Abraham Lincoln sought and utilized every means of maintaining the Union... Boman argues for Lincoln's overall success as a moderator and "reluctant warrior," as he led the troubled state back to civilian and local control...

  • SIMPSON, SEARS, SHEEHAN-DEAN (eds.): The Civil War: The First Year (2011)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 2/27/2013 Author: Brian Matthew Jordan | 

    With the first of a four-volume series chronicling the Civil War from The Library of America, editors Brooks D. Simpson, Stephen W. Sears, and Aaron Sheehan-Dean have expertly selected, arranged, and introduced primary documents in a way that allows students to experience the "deep contingencies" of the war's opening year...

  • CODDINGTON: African American Faces of the Civil War (2012)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 2/27/2013 Author: Glenn David Brasher | 

    Coddington's African American Faces of the Civil War is a fascinating work that captures the soldiers at a moment when they proudly served a country that was only just then beginning to reassess their citizenship rights...

  • MOAT: Killing Lincoln (2013)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 2/20/2013 Author: Megan Kate Nelson | 

    The music is ominous. The man climbs up the stairs. He pauses outside a door, puts on a hat, and runs his finger across the brim. He opens the door, presses his back against the wall, raises a gun and levels it at the head of a president...

  • LAFANTASIE (ed.): The Union Forever (2012)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 2/20/2013 Author: Matthew Norman | 

    The essays in The Union Forever provide ample evidence that in addition to being a great editor, Simon also produced some very perceptive pieces on Abraham Lincoln, Grant, and their partnership during the war...

  • WILLIAMS: My Old Confederate Home (2010)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 2/13/2013 Author: Samuel B. McGuire | 

    Freelance writer and amateur historian Rusty Williams's study augments the works of R. B. Rosenburg, Jeffrey McClurken, and Patrick Kelly, by tracing the institutional life of a single veterans? institution, the Kentucky Confederate Home...

  • DESJARDIN (ed.): Joshua L. Chamberlain: The Life in Letters (2012)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 2/6/2013 Author: Thom Bassett | 

    This collection of documents relating to the life and career of famed Union general Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain is both richly rewarding as well as enormously disappointing...

  • MASUR: Lincoln's Hundred Days (2012)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 1/30/2013 Author: Stephen Berry | 

    In Louis Masur's excellent new book, the Emancipation Proclamation may have been grittily won in a dirty privy, but it accomplished nothing less than the "melioration of our planet."

  • FOOTE: The Gentlemen and the Roughs (2010)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 1/23/2013 Author: James Hill Welborn III | 

    Consulting an impressive and largely untapped reservoir of Union Army court martial records and regimental order books, Foote reveals previously untold complexities within northern manhood and illuminates the vital role honor played in making this contested manhood manifest to all within Union ranks...

  • HESS: The Civil War in the West (2012)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 1/23/2013 Author: Jim Downs | 

    The Civil War in the West is truly a rich work of historical scholarship and academic analysis. As historians continue to probe the impact of the war farther into the West, Hess's book will certainly be an important starting place...

  • How We Need to Learn to Stop Worrying and Love Lincoln and Django Unchained (2013)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 1/16/2013 Author: Christian McWhirter | 

    Alright . . . historians, history buffs, and anyone who cares about history - take a deep breath and repeat after me: "It's OK to love Lincoln and Django Unchained."

  • CECELSKI: The Fire of Freedom (2012)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 1/9/2013 Author: Donald R. Shaffer | 

    A difficult scholarly challenge is rescuing from the dustbin of the past persons of historical importance, who for whatever reason have fallen into obscurity. This task is ably handled by David S. Cecelski in his book, The Fire of Freedom: Abraham Galloway & The Slaves' Civil War...

  • TARANTINO: Django Unchained (2012)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 1/2/2013 Author: Megan Kate Nelson | 

    That Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained is the most effective depiction of American slavery in the recent history of feature films is somewhat surprising and deeply disturbing...

  • DAVIS: A Taste For War (2011)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 12/26/2012 Author: William Kurtz | 

    More general studies of soldiers have touched on the subject of what soldiers ate, of course, but none in quite so much detail as William C. Davis's A Taste for War (2011), which was originally published in 2003. In this task, Davis follows in the footsteps of John B. Billing's Hardtack and Coffee (1887), but greatly exceeds that Union veteran in the scope of this culinary work...

  • HERDEGEN: The Iron Brigade in Civil War and Memory (2012)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 12/18/2012 Author: A. Wilson Greene | 

    Lance Herdegen offers an expanded chronicle of this famous outfit justified, he asserts, by the volume of new source material available since Nolan's work half-a-century ago. The product is a 618-page narrative that yields in equal parts laudable and lamentable results...

  • ARENSON: The Great Heart of the Republic (2011)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 12/12/2012 Author: Megan L. Bever | 

    Adam Arenson's engaging study of mid-nineteenth-century St. Louis is a story of national potential and national failure. Located at the intersection of North, South, and West, St. Louis requires us to re-frame the parameters of civil war...

  • Holiday Civil War Trivia Contest: WinnerRead More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 12/10/2012 Author: Matthew Hulbert | 

    We are pleased to announce the correct answer and the winner of the Holiday Civil War Trivia Contest...

  • Holiday Civil War Trivia Contest #2Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 12/7/2012 Author: Matthew Hulbert | 

    The first person to provide the correct answer via email to matt@civilwarmonitor.com will receive a signed set of Ronald Coddington's acclaimed Faces of the Civil War series...

  • CODDINGTON: Faces of the Civil War (2012)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 12/5/2012 Author: Allen C. Guelzo | 

    Strictly speaking, the men depicted here represent only .0003% of all those who wore the United State uniform in the Civil War, which makes the word represent seem an overreach. But in their own ordinary way, they have a story to tell about the ordinariness of the Civil War...

  • Holiday Civil War Trivia ContestRead More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 12/3/2012 Author: Matthew Hulbert | 

    In conjunction with The Johns Hopkins University Press, we are pleased to announce a Holiday Trivia Contest hosted by The Bookshelf. The winner will receive a signed set of Ron Coddington's acclaimed Civil War Albums.

  • SPIELBERG: Lincoln (2012) [Take 2]Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 11/28/2012 Author: Glenn David Brasher | 

    Lincoln is highly entertaining and extraordinarily well acted by the entire cast, and is now debatably the finest Civil War movie we have (audiences have been applauding it as the end credits begin to scroll). Unlike many other big budget historical epics, viewers will see a largely accurate account of events...

  • GREEN: Lincoln and the Election of 1860 (2011)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 11/21/2012 Author: Daniel W. Crofts | 

    This volume, part of a series entitled "The Concise Lincoln Library," focuses on Abraham Lincoln's role in the momentous events of 1860--the Republican presidential nomination in May, and his subsequent election in November...

  • SPIELBERG: Lincoln (2012) [Take 1]Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 11/12/2012 Author: Megan Kate Nelson | 

    The challenges of shaping an entertaining and visually gripping film about a complex moment in American history are quite evident in Steven Spielberg's new film "Lincoln."

  • HEWITT & SCHOTT (eds.): Lee and His Generals (2012)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 11/7/2012 Author: Cathy M. Wright | 

    Editors Lawrence Lee Hewitt and Thomas E. Schott have crafted Lee and His Generals: Essays in Honor of T. Harry Williams into a volume that is a notable tribute to one professor's career and continuing influence, and also provides insights into Confederate generalship...

  • DANIELSON: War's Desolating Scourge (2012)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 10/31/2012 Author: Ryan Keating | 

    War's Desolating Scourge is a fascinating study of the Federal occupation of North Alabama, and the continued defiance of loyal Confederates in the face of shifting political and military aims...

  • BRASHER: The Peninsula Campaign (2012)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 10/24/2012 Author: Gerald J. Prokopowicz | 

    This book does what history does at its best. It starts with an argument that has hardened into fixed positions ("Were there any black Confederates?") and revisits the evidence in order to move beyond the original issue and redirect our attention to a larger, equally polarized, and more important historical question...

  • FRYE: September Suspense (2012)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 10/17/2012 Author: A. Wilson Greene | 

    There is much to like and little to criticize with September Suspense. In some ways, this book mirrors popular histories of Civil War-era topics written by celebrities or those professional historians who frequent the morning talk shows?absent plagiarism and egregious factual errors...

  • STAUFFER & TRODD (eds.): The Tribunal (2012)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 10/10/2012 Author: Bonnie Laughlin-Schultz | 

    The Tribunal: Responses to John Brown and the Harpers Ferry Raid is a welcome addition to a small collection of Brown readers, including another by editors John Stauffer and Zoe Trodd, Meteor of War: The John Brown Story...

  • JOHNSON: Decided on the Battlefield (2012)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 10/3/2012 Author: Brian M. Jordan | 

    Author David Alan Johnson, a biographer of J. Edgar Hoover, makes his first foray into Civil War history with this vivid though ultimately flawed account of Lincoln's re-election campaign and the final year of the federal war effort. Aiming for a popular readership, Johnson's book opens in a cigar smoke-filled parlor of Cincinnati's Burnet House Hotel...

  • BENDER (ed.): Worthy of the Cause for Which They Fight (2011)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 9/26/2012 Author: Colin Woodward | 

    Worthy of the Cause is well edited, with ample notes and a comprehensive index... Any historian interested in the Confederate soldier and the western Rebel armies in particular will want to consult this volume...

  • MEIER: Suite Harmonic (2011)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 9/19/2012 Author: Carolyn Chesarino | 

    An historical novel, Meier's work synthesizes an impressive array of primary and secondary sources in such a way that hits on, though does not fully develop, greater themes such as national identity for Irish immigrants, abolitionism, and the dreariness of war...Suite Harmonic is an engaging read and heavily researched, but Meier's incredulous lack of historical relativity cannot be overlooked...

  • BURNS (director): Death and the Civil WarRead More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 9/16/2012 Author: Megan Kate Nelson | 

    The camera pans across a photograph as voices you vaguely recognize speak the words of Americans long dead. Live action shots show rolling hills at dawn, shrouded in fog or drifting smoke; you hear birds calling, the murmurs of men, the sharp crack of rifle fire...

  • MCPHERSON: War on the Waters (2012)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 9/12/2012 Author: Barbara Brooks Tomblin | 

    War on the Waters is an excellent introduction to the role of navies in the Civil War and a welcome addition to the literature of that conflict...

  • LEVIN: Remembering the Battle of the Crater (2012)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 9/5/2012 Author: Caroline E. Janney | 

    Using the Battle of the Crater as his lens, Kevin M. Levin explores the complex and evolving relationship between race and Civil War memory...

  • WILLIAMS & BURKHIMER (eds.): The Mary Lincoln Enigma (2012)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 8/29/2012 Author: Louis P. Masur | 

    On September 24, 2012, in Chicago, and on October 1 in Springfield, Mary Todd Lincoln will be retried on the charge of insanity. Perhaps she will fare better than at the first hearing, held in Chicago on May 19, 1875. Declared insane by a civil court jury after three hours of testimony, Mary was committed to Bellevue Place...

  • NELSON: Ruin Nation (2012)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 8/22/2012 Author: Edward L. Ayers | 

    Nelson examines destruction squarely and without flinching. She has undertaken remarkable primary research and offers powerful stories as well as revealing interpretations of images...

  • DIRCK: Lincoln and the Constitution (2012)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 8/15/2012 Author: Elizabeth D. Leonard | 

    In under 150 pages, Dirck delivers. Lincoln and the Constitution is a rich, creative, and utterly readable rendering of the development of Abraham Lincoln's constitutional theory from which scholars, too, can benefit...

  • SARNA & MENDELSOHN (eds.): Jews and the Civil War (2011)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 8/8/2012 Author: Daniel Kotzin | 

    The Jewish experience during the Civil War has often been ignored or side-stepped by both Civil War historians and historians of American Jewish history. Thankfully, with the publication of Jews and the Civil War, editors Jonathan Sarna and Adam Mendelsohn have put together a collection of seminal previously published works on this topic...

  • CURRAN (ed.): John Dooley's Civil War (2011)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 8/1/2012 Author: Evan C. Rothera | 

    For years, historians have found the diary of Second Lieutenant John Edward Dooley, of Company C of the First Virginia Infantry Regiment, a valuable resource...

  • NEWMAN & MUELLER (eds.): Antislavery and Abolition in Philadelphia (2011)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 8/1/2012 Author: Kristen C. Brill | 

    Richard Newman and James Mueller's Antislavery and Abolition in Philadelphia assembles a collection of insightful scholarly essays pivoting Philadelphia as the ideological, legislative, and social activist epicenter of the national abolitionist movement from the revolutionary era to the outbreak of the Civil War...

  • WILLS: George Henry Thomas (2012)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 7/25/2012 Author: Wayne Hsieh | 

    All in all, Wills has made a fine contribution to Civil War studies with this biography of a comparatively understudied but profoundly important Union general...

  • HUGHES & RUSHING (eds.): Refugitta of Richmond (2011)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 7/18/2012 Author: Elizabeth H. Turner | 

    Constance Cary Harrison's accounts of Civil War Richmond have supplied many a historian with an insider?s view of life in the Confederate capital... her memoir reveals a young woman on the cusp of maturity recounting a life she never expected to endure...

  • ARDEN & POWELL: Letters From the Storm (2010)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 7/18/2012 Author: Ivy Farr McIntyre | 

    While heavy on military details, The Intimate Civil War Letters of Lt. J.A.H. Foster will also be of interest to social, gender, family, and local historians, as well as genealogists. The collection offers uncommon insight into sexuality in the period as well...

  • EMERSON: Giant in the Shadows (2012)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 7/11/2012 Author: Harold Holzer | 

    A simply terrific researcher, Emerson has unearthed a breathtaking array of unknown facts and quotes about Robert, and has crafted this avalanche of detail into a truly absorbing account of his long life and times...

  • HOLZER, SYMONDS, & WILLIAMS (eds.): The Lincoln Assassination (2010)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 7/11/2012 Author: Angela M. Zombek | 

    This book, with its focus on the perpetuated Lincoln myth through the recounting of his death and the obsession with the trial of the assassination conspirators, tells not only about the man himself, but also how he defined the American character and how he continues to influence American political values.

  • BRADY: War Upon the Land (2012)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 7/2/2012 Author: Jack E. Davis | 

    Brady's fine book, which launches readers into the Mississippi River campaign rather than one on the Atlantic or Gulf, looks at the role nature played in the Civil War. Her fundamental interest is not the impact war had on the land (although she offers observations in this area) but in nature as historical agent...

  • GILPIN: John Brown Still Lives! (2011)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 6/27/2012 Author: A. Wilson Greene | 

    Brilliantly conceived and deeply researched, Gilpin provides an episodic journey through the literature and art that has considered Brown's place in illuminating the issues of violence, equality, and change in American life...

  • DUNKELMAN: Marching With Sherman (2012)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 6/20/2012 Author: Thom Bassett | 

    Dunkleman's achievement is to show in detail just how incommensurately northerners and southerners experienced, interpreted, and remembered the time Sherman came marching through, as well as how these differences in understanding and recollection have shifted by time and place...

  • FLECHE: The Revolution of 1861 (2012)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 6/20/2012 Author: Barbara Gannon | 

    In a highly readable and provocative new study, The Revolution of 1861: The American Civil War in the Age of Nationalist Conflict, Andre Fleche suggests that while Americans may not have been Marxists, or even Beardians, they recognized the relationship between their Civil War and other revolutionary struggles including the revolutions of 1848...

  • STERNHELL: Routes of War (2012)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 6/13/2012 Author: Aaron Sheehan-Dean | 

    Sternhell evaluates the eastern theater of war (mostly Virginia) through the years of war and into the opening moments of Reconstruction, territory familiar to most students of the Civil War. The novelty in her approach is to consider the entire population - soldiers, civilians, blacks, whites, men, women, Confederates, Unionists, loyalists and deserters - and their experiences from the...

  • MCWHIRTER: Battle Hymns (2012)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 6/6/2012 Author: Randy Finley | 

    In Battle Hymns: The Power and Popularity of Music in the Civil War, Christian McWhirter analyzes the role music played in dividing the nation in 1860-1861, in sustaining civilian and military morale in the bloody cataclysm of war, and in formulating meanings of the war after Appomattox...

  • FELLMAN: Views from the Dark Side of American History (2011)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 6/6/2012 Author: Megan Kate Nelson | 

    There has always been political purpose to what Fellman has written during his long career and this text is no exception...

  • REARDON: With a Sword in One Hand (2012)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 5/30/2012 Author: John R. Neff | 

    In helping us see Jomini and his place within a larger social and intellectual context, Reardon easily solidifies her position as one of our best, most thoughtful historians of the military experience...

  • PATCHAN: Second Manassas (2011)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 5/23/2012 Author: Lawrence Kreiser, Jr. | 

    For those interested in learning more about one of the greatest Confederate battlefield successes of the war, a triumph that might even have ended the war had the Union defenders not fought as stubbornly as they did, this is a good book...

  • CARNEY: Ministers and Masters (2011)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 5/16/2012 Author: John J. Langdale III | 

    In Ministers and Masters, Charity Carney furnishes a concise study of antebellum southern Methodist ministers and their often remarkable intersections with the culture of southern honor...

  • SCARBOROUGH: The Allstons of Chicora Wood (2011)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 5/16/2012 Author: Alex Macaulay | 

    The Allstons of Chicora Wood is an interesting and frustrating book. What began as a standard biography of antebellum South Carolina governor and rice planter Robert F.W. Allston, evolved over the course of the author's research into a broader study of the Allston family...

  • LAUSE: A Secret Society History of the Civil War (2011)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 5/9/2012 Author: Matt Gallman | 

    Reviewers are not supposed to take authors to task for "not writing a different book" (although we do it all the time), but it might be fair to critique a monograph for not having a different title. Reader beware. This is not a history of secret societies during the Civil War...

  • MILLER: John Bell Hood (2010)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 5/2/2012 Author: James Marten | 

    Brian Craig Miller argues that considering Hood through the lenses of manhood and memory--he calls his book a "cultural biography"--offers a fresh perspective on a Confederate who could have starred in a Greek tragedy...

  • McKnight: CONFEDERATE OUTLAW (2011)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 5/2/2012 Author: William Feis | 

    This book is an excellent, well-written analysis that will become the standard biography of Champ Ferguson and will also be essential reading for those seeking insights into the motivations of borderland guerrillas...

  • FOLLETT, FONER, JOHNSON (eds.): Slavery's Ghost (2011)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 4/25/2012 Author: Joshua D. Rothman | 

    A brief but thought-provoking collection of essays that brings together lectures delivered at the University of Sussex's Marcus Cunliffe Centre for the Study of the American South, Slavery's Ghost is framed by several persistent and important considerations in the historiography of slavery and emancipation.

  • LOEWEN & SEBESTA (eds.): The Confederate and Neo-Confederate Reader (2010)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 4/25/2012 Author: Jon D. Bohland | 

    The book provides teachers and researchers alike with an invaluable archive of speeches, images, political papers, and memoirs that graphically reveal what the Confederacy and its post-war nostalgists actually believed about slavery, secession, race relations, and the whitewashing of the southern past.

  • DELBLANCO: The Abolitionist Imagination (2012)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 4/18/2012 Author: Michael Fellman | 

    Delbanco's stereotyping and judgmental essay strikes me as a demonstration of how old-fashioned liberalism can be turned into what amounts to morally-determined, preachy neo-conservatism, whether intentionally or not. I share Sinha's reaction that this is a condescending argument, written down from the Arcadian coolness of Morningside Heights...

  • BARNHART: Albert Taylor Bledsoe (2011)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 4/18/2012 Author: Benjamin Cloyd | 

    Despite the limited material available, Barnhart has made a worthy and instructive effort to explore the significance of the man who became ?the architect of the Confederate interpretation of the conflict?...

  • LOWRY: Drinking Patterns in the Civil War (2011)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 4/11/2012 Author: Sean Vanatta | 

    Lowry's short, idiosyncratic text is premised on a central question: Did ethnic German and Irish soldiers exhibit abnormal drinking patterns when compared to average "American" troops?

  • GALLMAN (ed.): A Tour of Reconstruction (2011)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 4/4/2012 Author: Amy Murrell Taylor | 

    Gallman has made an important contribution by pulling Dickinson?s letters out of the archives?deciphering her difficult handwriting in the process?and making them more widely accessible. Her writing about Reconstruction can now join the ranks of other published travel writers of the period, such as Sidney Andrews and J.T. Trowbridge, while inserting a powerful female voice among them...

  • STOKER: The Grand Design (2010)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 4/4/2012 Author: Lorien Foote | 

    In The Grand Design: Strategy and the U.S. Civil War, Donald Stoker answers a question that few historians have asked: did the leaders on either side of the Civil War develop and implement an effective military strategy to achieve their respective political objectives? Rather than focusing on battles and campaigns, Stoker takes his readers on a fascinating tour of the big picture that offers...

  • INSCOE (ed.): The Civil War in GeorgiaRead More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 3/28/2012 Author: Keith Muchowski | 

    By definition a reference book such as this is not an exhaustive analysis of its subject, and the The Civil War in Georgia does not try to be. Those looking for a sophisticated, concise overview of Georgia?s role in the American Civil War, however, would do well to begin here.

  • FULTON: The Reconstruction of Mark Twain (2010)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 3/21/2012 Author: John C. Inscoe | 

    This is not only a significant new take on Mark Twain and his significance as a public figure and political critic; it also provides new insights into the ambivalent legacy of the border state and western Civil War by viewing it through its impact on one of America?s most celebrated and enduring writers...

  • HARRIS: Lincoln and the Border States (2011)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 3/14/2012 Author: George C. Rable | 

    Hard as it might be to imagine, William C. Harris's new book fills a significant gap in the historical literature on Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln and the Border States is the first serious, comprehensive look at the President's policies in the slaveholding states that remained in the Union...

  • HIRSCH & VAN HAFTEN: Abraham Lincoln and the Structure of Reason (2010)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 3/14/2012 Author: Brian Dirck | 

    Original ideas about Abraham Lincoln are uncommon. Given the ever-growing pile of Lincoln books and articles, not much remains unsaid or probably even unthought about the man. So on the rare occasion that somebody does think an original thought about him, the thinker (or in this case thinkers) deserve praise merely for the deed...

  • LUBRECHT: New Jersey Butterfly Boys in the Civil War (2011)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 3/7/2012 Author: Scott Manning | 

    In New Jersey Butterfly Boys, Peter T. Lubrecht tells the story of the Third New Jersey Cavalry, a regiment that saw action during the latter half of the Civil War. The unit is an intriguing one that featured an ethnic mix of predominately German and Irish immigrants, as well as soldiers from more than a half dozen other European countries...

  • MAGNESS & PAGE: Colonization After Emancipation (2011)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 3/7/2012 Author: Earl J. Hess | 

    Phillip W. Magness and Sebastian N. Page now show us that Lincoln’s interest was hardly furtive after the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation of September 22, 1862. It was real, and the president pursued colonization schemes with quiet and unobtrusive fervor...

  • WITTENBERG: Gettysburg's Forgotten Cavalry ActionsRead More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 2/29/2012 Author: A. Wilson Greene | 

    Gettysburg’s Forgotten Cavalry Actions is a revised edition of cavalry expert Eric Wittenberg’s first book, published originally in 1998. As the full title suggests, Wittenberg focuses on three engagements that occurred on Gettysburg’s final day. This is the kind of book that academic historians ridicule, general Civil War readers find too narrow, and Gettysburg junkies embrace...

  • Weird Essay WinnerRead More

    Category: The Bookshelf Posted: 2/28/2012 Author: Frank Grzyb | 

    This winning entry was submitted by Mr. Frank Gryzb of Portsmouth, Rhode Island, to The Civil War Monitor's "Weirding the War Essay Contest"?an event held in honor of Weirding the War: Stories from the Civil War's Ragged Edges (edited by our own Dr. Stephen Berry).

  • MARTEN (ed.): Children and Youth During the Civil War Era (2012)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 2/22/2012 Author: Catherine M. Wright | 

    By addressing so many fascinating topics in a regional or impressionistic manner, this anthology suggests as many new avenues for research as it satisfies. The authors and editor are to be commended for this valuable contribution to the field...

  • BLIGHT: American Oracle (2011)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 2/21/2012 Author: David Silkenat | 

    In a sense, Blight’s new book, American Oracle: The Civil War in the Civil Rights Era, is a continuation of the work he began in Race and Reunion. Rather than chronicle the myriad ways in which the Civil War Centennial intersected with the Civil Right Movement, Blight provides much more intimate portraits of four authors who wrestled with the legacy of the Civil War at the height of the Civil ...

  • FARMER-KAISER: Freedwomen and the Freedmen's Bureau (2010)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 2/15/2012 Author: Carolyn Chesarino | 

    Mary Farmer-Kaiser’s study, Freedwomen and the Freedmen's Bureau: Race, Gender, and Public Policy in the Age of Emancipation, analyzes interactions between bureau agents and freedpersons, and local authorities in order to examine freedwomen’s active role in shaping both public policy and definitions of womanhood, manhood, and race...

  • DAVIS & ROBERTSON (eds.): Virginia at War, 1865Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 2/15/2012 Author: Michael B. Chesson | 

    The fifth and final volume of Virginia at War is the best of the series. This treatment of 1865 in the Old Dominion is crisply edited; focused mostly on a single year of the war, unlike some of the earlier volumes; and while only 242 pages including preface and index, it is a meaty contribution to Civil War studies...

  • ABRUZZO: Polemical Pain (2011)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 2/8/2012 Author: James Hill Welborn III | 

    Long before Americans, North and South, commenced to shooting each other over slavery and the state of the nation, a related battle raged over the definition of humanitarianism; one that increasingly involved the burgeoning sectional crisis and its debate over slavery. Margaret Abruzzo centers this battle in her cross hairs as she outlines the origins, evolution, and disparate impacts of American...

  • MARSHALL: Creating a Confederate Kentucky (2010)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 2/8/2012 Author: Anne Sarah Rubin | 

    Nowhere is the cliché that the North won the Civil War while the South won the peace more true than in Kentucky. Historian Anne E. Marshall's elegantly crafted Creating a Confederate Kentucky tells us exactly how that happened...

  • WILSON: The Business of Civil War (2010)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 2/1/2012 Author: Brooks D. Simpson | 

    Readers will find Wilson’s deeply-researched account well worth the investment as a study of wartime political economy. It explores areas hitherto mostly neglected and rarely explored...

  • GINGRICH (et al): The Battle of the Crater: A NovelRead More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 1/25/2012 Author: Craig A. Warren | 

    In recent months, Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has sprinkled the campaign trail with promotional events for the books he published last year, including the Civil War novel The Battle of the Crater. Politics and marketing aside, how does the new book stand up within the genre of Civil War fiction? And what vision of the war emerges from its pages?

  • BROWN (ed.): Remixing the Civil WarRead More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 1/18/2012 Author: Nina Silber | 

    Touching on such diverse subjects as Barack Obama’s very recent deployment of the Lincoln image, current controversies over the Confederate battle flag, and contemporary black artists’ interpretations of the war, most of the essays in Remixing the Civil War offer rich analytical insights on how and why the Civil War continues to provide a critical touchstone for so many Americans in so many...

  • Remembering Race and Reunion: Ten Years LaterRead More

    Category: The Bookshelf Posted: 1/16/2012 Author: Brian Matthew Jordan | 

    It was—and remains—one of the most powerful meditations on the interior meaning of the conflict ever to have appeared in print. The book is ambitious, but not unwieldy; far-ranging, yet not comprehensive. Ten years later, I am still grappling with the book’s arguments, its theoretical underpinnings, and its explanatory power.

  • DEMPSEY: Michigan and the Civil War (2011)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 1/11/2012 Author: Brian Allen Drake | 

    In Michigan and the Civil War, Jack Dempsey examines his upper-Midwestern home state’s contribution to the North’s victory. If you are a native Wolverine and/or a Civil War buff with a keen interest in the state’s history, you will find much to like in the book. For more serious scholars, though, it will be less satisfying...

  • RABLE: God's Almost Chosen Peoples (2010)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 1/11/2012 Author: Abigail Cooper | 

    With its prodigious bibliography and its mandate to address the proliferation of faith in the primary sources, God’s Almost Chosen People will be a resource for and an invitation to students of both religion and the Civil War...

  • KNIGHT: Confederate Invention (2011)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 1/11/2012 Author: Charles B. Dew | 

    Almost all of the records of the Confederate States Patent Office burned with the evacuation of Richmond in 1865, but that did not prevent H. Jackson Knight from compiling this remarkable record of southern invention and inventors during the war. Confederate Invention stands as a testament to the dedication of this dogged researcher, who set out to write a history of Confederate patenting and,...

  • SMITH: The Enemy Within (2011)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 1/11/2012 Author: Mark A. Lause | 

    Corruption in government and business remains a remarkably neglected aspect of the study of war. However, if the subject remains too elusive for serious discussion in the age of Haliburton, nailing it down in the Civil War years adds entire new layers...

  • GAUGHAN: The Last Battle of the Civil War (2011)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 1/4/2012 Author: Kevin M. Levin | 

    Visitors who travel to pay their respects to the fallen and experience the beautiful monuments and closely manicured grounds of Arlington may be surprised to learn that the site itself was at the center of one of the most divisive political and legal battles of the post-Civil War period. The legal battle, which culminated in the Supreme Court case of U.S. v. Lee (1882) and the question of who...

  • MAURO: A Southern Spy in Northern Virginia (2009)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 12/28/2011 Author: Angela Esco Elder | 

    During the Civil War, Confederate brigadier general J.E.B. Stuart gave a leather album to Laura Ratcliffe, a twenty-five year old resident of Fairfax County, Virginia. This deceptively simple album is the topic of Charles V. Mauro’s most recent book, A Southern Spy in Northern Virginia: The Civil War Album of Laura Ratcliffe...

  • GEIGER: Financial Fraud and Guerrilla Violence in Missouri's Civil War (2010)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 12/21/2011 Author: Joseph M. Beilein, Jr. | 

    Built on an impressive foundation of quantitative research, Financial Fraud makes major contributions to the fields of memory and guerrilla warfare in the Civil War. Though Geiger’s documentation of the fraudulent lending used to arm Confederate forces is quite the accomplishment, his work is truly dynamic, powerful, and contentious in his analysis of the unintended consequences and fallout from...

  • PETERSEN: Quantrill at Lawrence (2011)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 12/21/2011 Author: A. James Fuller | 

    Quantrill at Lawrence: The Untold Story is a well-written and provocative book... many will disagree with his conclusion that the Lawrence attack should be seen as a legitimate and successful cavalry raid...but readers will appreciate his storytelling and historians should give the contentions he makes in telling his untold story further consideration...

  • WACHTELL: War No More (2010) Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 12/14/2011 Author: Kenneth W. Noe | 

    Whitman's reluctance to reveal to his readers the totality of the "seething hell" of "the real war" he saw in the hospitals is at the heart of Cynthia Wachtell's War No More. Challenging modern authors such as Paul Fussell who view World War I as the watershed moment in the emergence of an antiwar tradition in American letters, Wachtell goes back to Whitman's "Secession war" to find its uncertain...

  • THOMPSON (ed.): Tejanos in GrayRead More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 12/7/2011 Author: William L. Shea | 

    Historians consistently underestimate the ethnic diversity of the Confederacy. Regimental muster rolls from Texas, Louisiana, and other western states abound in German, Irish, French, and Spanish surnames. Until recently, these individuals and the groups they represent have remained largely under the radar...

  • MCGINTY: The Body of John Merryman (2011)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 11/30/2011 Author: Michael S. Green | 

    But the Supreme Court played a more significant role in the Civil War than many historians have acknowledged; a state of affairs that Brian McGinty has been trying to rectify. He has followed his study of Lincoln and the Court with this superb book that assesses the many angles of Ex Parte Merryman, perhaps the most important case that reached any member of that tribunal during the war...

  • URAL (ed.): Civil War Citizens (2010)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 11/30/2011 Author: James J. Broomall | 

    Civil War Citizens: Race, Ethnicity, and Identity in America’s Bloodiest Conflict is the first effort to examine in one book the wartime experiences of Jewish, Irish, African, Native, and German Americans...

  • HARROLD: Border War (2010)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 11/23/2011 Author: Bonnie Laughlin-Schultz | 

    In this well-researched and convincing work, distinguished historian Stanley Harrold departs from a traditional North-versus-South tale of sectional breakdown in the decades leading to the Civil War. Instead, he presents a narrative focused on violence and ideological clash in the borderlands...

  • MORSMAN: The Big House After Slavery (2010)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 11/16/2011 Author: Felicity Turner | 

    Amy Feely Morsman’s The Big House After Slavery examines changing gender relations amongst married elites in postemancipation Virginia. Drawing from family papers, diaries, newspapers, and periodicals, Morsman argues that the dire economic straits of former slaveholding elites during Reconstruction prompted an important transition in the gender dynamics of planter households...

  • COFFMAN: Going Back the Way They Came (2011) & MARTIN: I Will Give Them One More Shot (2011)Read More

    Category: The Bookshelf Posted: 11/9/2011 Author: James I. Robertson, Jr. | 

    It was in the 1950s when historian Bruce Catton first called attention to the value of Civil War regimental studies. These personal collections of experiences and quotations by the men in the ranks became a fascinating base for Catton’s award-winning, three-volume chronicle of the Union’s Army of the Potomac. That research breakthrough led to a veritable renaissance in the publication of...

  • MARTIN: General Braxton Bragg, C.S.A. (2011)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 11/2/2011 Author: Jeffry D Wert | 

    In this lengthy and well-researched new biography of Bragg, Samuel Martin attempts to rectify the Confederate general’s historical record and reputation. It is a commendable effort by the veteran author that will assuredly stir further debate and controversy...

  • THOMAS: The Iron Way (2011)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 10/26/2011 Author: Elizabeth Varon | 

    William G. Thomas’s The Iron Way is a tour-de-force, and offers a series of bracing insights about the origins, shape and outcome of the Civil War. Thomas argues that the railroads were sites and symbols of contested modernity in antebellum America. They did not simply symbolize northern industrial might and progress, but also the South’s determination to have modernity on its own terms: to...

  • GLATTHAAR: Soldiering in the Army of Northern Virginia (2011)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 10/26/2011 Author: Brian Craig Miller | 

    Designed as a companion to his superb 2008 work General Lee’s Army: From Victory to Collapse, the statistical volume breaks down the sample of six hundred soldiers that Glatthaar used to tell the story of Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia...

  • BYNUM: The Long Shadow of the Civil War (2010)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 10/19/2011 Author: Laura Hepp Bradshaw | 

    “Few histories,” Victoria Bynum laments, “are buried faster or deeper than those of political or social dissenters” (148). By resurrecting the histories of three anti-secessionist communities in the South, Bynum’s latest book about the Civil War home front and its checkered aftermath bring previously ignored strains of political and social dissent back to life through an intricate...

  • WOOD: Near Andersonville (2010)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 10/19/2011 Author: Robert Bonner | 

    Peter Wood’s incisive new book asks us to set aside imagery of battles and soldiers, and even “Honest Abe,” so that we might visualize the world captured by the painter Winslow Homer in his long-forgotten masterpiece “Near Andersonville.”

  • MARTEN: Sing Not War (2011)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 10/12/2011 Author: Brian M. Jordan | 

    More so than any previous historian, Marten sheds light on several important questions: how did veterans live, and how were they perceived by society? Sing Not War has given admirable shape and definition to an anemic subfield of Civil War history, and as such it is a welcome addition to the literature. Future studies of the war’s consequences must contend with the important questions that James...

  • MCCURRY: Confederate Reckoning (2010)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 10/12/2011 Author: David K. Thomson | 

    Confederate Reckoning’s sharp narrative and fresh analysis of the odds faced by slaveholders in the Confederacy and their contributions to its internal collapse is both timely and justified as historians try to reassess key issues of race and gender, such as the roles of southern women and slaves, in relation to the war. McCurry has opened the door for future scholarship and has further cemented...

  • BERRY (ed.): Weirding the War: Stories from the Civil War's Ragged Edges (2011)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 10/5/2011 Author: W. Fitzhugh Brundage | 

    The essays themselves explore nooks and crevices of Civil War history that are always interesting, sometimes poignant, and often revelatory. Berry’s introduction is especially cogent about the thread that runs through the collection: the “littleness” of the war. Almost certainly this view of the conflict is rooted in the experience of contemporary Americans with war. We have a half century...

  • GOODHEART: 1861: The Civil War Awakening (2011)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 9/28/2011 Author: A. Wilson Greene | 

    Adam Goodheart’s much heralded 1861: The Civil War Awakening is an eloquent, innovative, and deeply researched collection of chapter-length vignettes that surveys a variety of events at the outset of our national bloodletting...

  • GALLAGHER: The Union War (2011)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 9/28/2011 Author: Nicole Etcheson | 

    Ken Burns’s Civil War series made famous Rhode Island soldier Elisha Hunt Rhodes’s phrase, “All for the Union.” Gary W. Gallagher agrees with Rhodes. Gallagher emphasizes that, for northerners, the war was one for Union. Although he welcomes the flood of literature that has emphasized the importance of race, slavery, and emancipation to the Civil War, Gallagher believes that this focus has...

  • A few words on The BookshelfRead More

    Category: The Bookshelf Posted: 9/16/2011 Author: Matthew C. Hulbert | 

    Greetings and welcome to the official digital headquarters of book reviews for The Civil War Monitor. In much the same way that printed editions of the Monitor will attempt to bridge the unfortunate chasm that still divides many professional scholars from broader historical audiences, this space, harnessing the infinite reach of the Internet, will attempt to charge that goal head on...

  • BERTERA & CRAWFORD: The 4th Michigan Infantry in the Civil War (2010)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 9/16/2011 Author: Kevin Krause | 

    Since the turn towards social and cultural history in the 1960s and 1970s, many academic institutions have relegated military history to the virtual back burner of “serious” scholarly endeavors. Military histories have, however, remained popular with general readers, and have recently regained scholarly credibility within academia. One reason for this has been a shift of focus from strategies....

  • WARSCHAUER: Connecticut in the American Civil War: Slavery, Sacrifice, and Survival (2011)Read More

    Category: Book Reviews Posted: 9/16/2011 Author: Peter C. Luebke | 

    The Civil War Centennial saw the publication of histories of state participation in the Civil War. Now, with the approach of the sesquicentennial, it appears as if a new batch of histories building upon the last 50 years of scholarship is on the way. Matthew Warshauer's Connecticut in the American Civil War: Slavery, Sacrifice, and Survival serves as a model of what a state-level survey of the ...

About This Blog

The Bookshelf is the digital home of book reviews and author interviews for the Monitor--and your source of the most up-to-date information on all things Civil War literature.


For information concerning book reviews, interviews, other book media-related requests, or general questions, please contact the Book Review Editor:  

Brian Matthew Jordan

brian@civilwarmonitor.com


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