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 1/25/2012

GINGRICH (et al): The Battle of the Crater: A Novel

By: Craig A. Warren Category: Book Reviews

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?

Published 1/18/2012

BROWN (ed.): Remixing the Civil War

By: Nina Silber Category: Book Reviews

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...

Published 1/16/2012

Remembering Race and Reunion: Ten Years Later

By: Brian Matthew Jordan Category: The Bookshelf

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.

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...