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 4/18/2012

DELBLANCO: The Abolitionist Imagination (2012)

By: Michael Fellman Category: Book Reviews

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...

Published 4/18/2012

BARNHART: Albert Taylor Bledsoe (2011)

By: Benjamin Cloyd Category: Book Reviews

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?...

Published 4/11/2012

LOWRY: Drinking Patterns in the Civil War (2011)

By: Sean Vanatta Category: Book Reviews

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?

Published 4/4/2012

GALLMAN (ed.): A Tour of Reconstruction (2011)

By: Amy Murrell Taylor Category: Book Reviews

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...

Published 4/4/2012

STOKER: The Grand Design (2010)

By: Lorien Foote Category: Book Reviews

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...

Published 3/28/2012

INSCOE (ed.): The Civil War in Georgia

By: Keith Muchowski Category: Book Reviews

By definition a reference book such as this is not an exhaustive analysis of its subject, and 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.

Published 3/21/2012

FULTON: The Reconstruction of Mark Twain (2010)

By: John C. Inscoe Category: Book Reviews

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...

Published 3/14/2012

HARRIS: Lincoln and the Border States (2011)

By: George C. Rable Category: Book Reviews

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...

Published 3/14/2012

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

By: Brian Dirck Category: Book Reviews

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...

Published 3/7/2012

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

By: Scott Manning Category: Book Reviews

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...