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 2/21/2012

BLIGHT: American Oracle (2011)

By: David Silkenat Category: Book Reviews

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 ...

Published 2/15/2012

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

By: Carolyn Chesarino Category: Book Reviews

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...

Published 2/15/2012

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

By: Michael B. Chesson Category: Book Reviews

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...

Published 2/8/2012

ABRUZZO: Polemical Pain (2011)

By: James Hill Welborn III Category: Book Reviews

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...

Published 2/8/2012

MARSHALL: Creating a Confederate Kentucky (2010)

By: Anne Sarah Rubin Category: Book Reviews

Nowhere is the cliche 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...

Published 2/1/2012

WILSON: The Business of Civil War (2010)

By: Brooks D. Simpson Category: Book Reviews

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...

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...