The Bookshelf

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

Published 1/11/2012

DEMPSEY: Michigan and the Civil War (2011)

By: Brian Allen Drake Category: Book Reviews

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...

Published 1/11/2012

RABLE: God's Almost Chosen Peoples (2010)

By: Abigail Cooper Category: Book Reviews

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...

Published 1/11/2012

KNIGHT: Confederate Invention (2011)

By: Charles B. Dew Category: Book Reviews

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,...

Published 1/11/2012

SMITH: The Enemy Within (2011)

By: Mark A. Lause Category: Book Reviews

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...

Published 1/4/2012

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

By: Kevin M. Levin Category: Book Reviews

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...

Published 12/28/2011

MAURO: A Southern Spy in Northern Virginia (2009)

By: Angela Esco Elder Category: Book Reviews

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...

Published 12/21/2011

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

By: Joseph M. Beilein, Jr. Category: Book Reviews

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...

Published 12/21/2011

PETERSEN: Quantrill at Lawrence (2011)

By: A. James Fuller Category: Book Reviews

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...

Published 12/14/2011

WACHTELL: War No More (2010)

By: Kenneth W. Noe Category: Book Reviews

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...

Published 12/7/2011

THOMPSON (ed.): Tejanos in Gray

By: William L. Shea Category: Book Reviews

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...