Sunday, September 30, 2007

Robert E. Lee: Icon for a Nation

by Brian Holden Reid

From the publisher:
One of the most impressive monuments to an American military hero is found in Richmond, Virginia. Weighing twelve tons and standing almost sixty-two feet high, this great marble statue depicts Gen. Robert E. Lee on horseback. It projects an air of defiance as well as celebration, implying that, despite the tragic outcome of the Civil War for the South, this general was not defeated.

By the time this monumental icon was unveiled in 1890, twenty years after Lee's death, the apotheosis of the great Confederate leader's life and career was well underway. He came to symbolize the great lost cause-the unfulfilled, idealized achievements that were central to the romanticized imagery that quickly enveloped the Old South after the war.

In this in-depth examination of the career of Gen. Robert E. Lee, noted historian Brian Holden Reid looks beyond the legend to arrive at an objective assessment of the man and his military career. Holden Reid argues that Lee's qualities as a general do not require any exaggeration or embellishment. Tracing the military campaigns of the Civil War, he shows that Lee's short period of field command, just under three years, was marked by imagination, decisiveness, stamina, and a determination to win the war against the better-equipped union army, rather than just avoid losing it.

Some historians have criticized Lee's offensive strategy as an error that became ultimately self-defeating. By contrast, Holden Reid asserts that it was the only realistic way for the Confederacy to win its independence. Nonetheless, he acknowledges that Lee exhibited occasional overconfidence, sometimes underestimated his enemy, and failed to develop his staff in any modern sense.

As a British historian, Holden Reid brings a fresh, detached eye to his evaluation of Gen. Lee, and in the end he presents an authoritative and balanced assessment of a great American commander. Marked by clarity of style and filled with fascinating historical details, this new reconsideration of a legendary southern general will be a welcome addition to the bookshelves of Civil War enthusiasts as well as students and scholars of American history and military history.

Brian Holden Reid (London, England) is professor of American history and military institutions and head of the Department of War Studies at King's College, London. Since 1993, he has been a member of the Council of the Society for Army Historical Research and from 1998 to 2004 served as chairman. In 2004-2005, he was the first non-American to serve as a member of the Lincoln Prize jury panel, which awards the most important literary prize in the field of Civil War history. His many books include The Origins of the American Civil War and The Civil War and the Wars of the Nineteenth Century.

Disunion, War, Defeat, and Recovery in Alabama: The Journal of Augustus Benners, 1850-1885

by Glenn and Virginia Linden (editors)

From the publisher:
Disunion, War, Defeat, and Recovery in Alabama offers a rare look into the life of a Civil War character many would say they love to hate: the plantation owner. A slave-owning, cotton grower, Augustus Benners recorded decades of his mostly gritty and unglamorous plantation life. Simultaneously, his entries unveil the self-portrait of a complex and troubled man. Struggling to meet the demands of family, farm, and community, Benners remained haunted by fear and self-doubt in his quest for peace and stability.

A devoted husband and father, Benners’s tragedy of loss is almost Shakespearean in scope. He touchingly recounts the deaths of dear ones: five children in the space of eleven years; his wife returning from Texas; and a long-time favorite hand (“he never referred to them as slaves”), Kit Jones, whose passing moved Benners to write “his place cannot be filled.”

How poignant we find Benners’s comment on slave-owning: “I could wish I had never seen a Negro and don’t in the least doubt I would have been more of a man if not a better one if I had never owned one.”

Deft editing, annotation, and explanatory notes by Glenn and Virginia Linden complement and elucidate Benners’s historical accounts. Just when you think you have this nineteenth-century Southern icon neatly stereotyped, the editors let Benners surprise you with revelations as to his spiritual side...his fascination with astronomy and roller skating...or one more rendition of his unflagging resentment toward Ulysses S. Grant.

GLENN M. LINDEN is associate professor of History at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, wherehe has taught since 1968. He has authored, edited, or co-edited seven books including three in the Civil War period—Voices from the Gathering Storm, the Coming of the Civil War; Voices from the House Divided, the United States Civil War as Personal Experience; and Voices from the Reconstruction Years, 1865–1877.

VIRGINIA LINDEN has a BA from the University of Washington and an MA in sculpture from New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, New Mexico. She has worked on eight books with Glenn editing and researching.

Mr. Lincoln's Brown Water Navy: The Mississippi Squadron

by Gary Dillard Joiner

From the publisher:
The Union inland navy that became the Mississippi Squadron is one of the greatest, yet least studied aspects of the Civil War. Without it, however, the war in the West may not have been won, and the war in the East might have lasted much longer and perhaps ended differently. The men who formed and commanded this large fighting force have, with few exceptions, not been as thoroughly studied as their army counterparts.

The vessels they created were highly specialized craft which operated in the narrow confines of the Western rivers in places that could not otherwise receive fire support. Ironclads and gunboats protected army forces and convoyed much needed supplies to far-flung Federal forces. They patrolled thousands of miles of rivers and fought battles that were every bit as harrowing as land engagements yet inside iron monsters that created stifling heat with little ventilation. This book is about the intrepid men who fought under these conditions and the highly improvised boats in which they fought. The tactics their commanders developed were the basis for many later naval operations. Of equal importance were lessons learned about what not to do. The flag officers and admirals of the Mississippi Squadron wrote the rules for modern riverine warfare.

This book:

*Describes in great detail, the naval battles fought on western rivers and places the combined arms aspect of the war into clear focus.

*Details little known events and people and brings them alive in an easy to read style that will captivate scholars, students, and the general public alike.

*Includes a large number of pictures and maps, some never before published.

Gary Joiner is a military historian, cartographer, and author who developed a special interest in studying river channel migration and historic road networks while studying the Red River Campaign of the U.S. Civil War. He is the author of One Damn Blunder from Beginning to End:The Red River Campaign of 1864 (Scholarly Resources, 2003), which has won two national history book honors, the A.M. Pate, Jr. and the Albert Castel awards. His other recent books include—No Pardons to Ask, nor Apologies to Make; Through the Howling Wilderness: The Red River Campaign of 1864 and Union Defeat in the West; as senior editor, Little to Eat and Thin Mud to Drink, and as co-editor of O. Edward Cunningham's Shiloh and Western Campaign of 1862.

Ninth Vermont Infantry: A History and Roster

by Paul G. Zeller

From the publisher:
This work follows the Ninth Vermont from the horrors of its first combat and humiliating capture at Harpers Ferry in September 1862 to its triumphal march into Richmond in April 1865. Through diaries and letters written by members of the unit, one relives the riveting day-by-day account of the men as they were in battle, on the march, and in camp. With seldom seen photos of many of the regiment's members, detailed maps, and a complete regimental roster, this book tells a compelling story.

From CWBN:
Note that Amazon lists this release date as September 30; Barnes & Noble lists it simply as "September," and the publisher told us in August that the book was slated for a December release. We are listing this on September 30 on the assumption that the online booksellers have the more current availability information.

Appalachian Ohio and the Civil War, 1862-1863

by Susan G. Hall

From the publisher:
The antebellum culture of Harrison County (birthplace of George Armstrong Custer) and the surrounding five-county area of Appalachian east Ohio was an outspoken, democratic society—and a way station of the Underground Railroad for escaping slaves.

With the coming of the War Between the States, this community faced momentous change and bitter divisions. Its politicians stumped for and against the conflict; its farmboys, carpenters, scholars and ministers marched off to Kentucky, Mississippi, Virginia, and Tennessee, there to become hardened soldiers laying destruction about them, even as a powerful Copperhead peace movement grew at home. The area was menaced by John Hunt Morgan’s Confederate Cavalry.

This narrative history of the crucial year of this area’s real involvement in the war, from summer to summer, provides a portrait of the area’s Scotch-Irish, followed by German and English, traditions and culture, and the ways in which the war affected everyone, young women left without husbands and whole families plagued by far-away diseases brought home. Letters and diaries from the soldiers and those who loved them provide insight into their thoughts and feelings, as well as their reactions to the very different cultures (women in white dresses had not been seen before) they experienced. Also included are illustrations and maps that display both the Harrison County area and the battlefields where many of her sons saw combat.

From the critics:
This narrative history of the first year of the war provides a portrait of the Harrison county area's traditions and culture, highlighting the ways in which the war affected the residents of the area. Letters and diary entries from soldiers and their loved ones reflect their attitudes toward and reactions to the changes around them and the conflicting cultures in the area. Also included are maps of both Harrison county and the relevant battlefields in other parts of the country. - Booknews

The Hour of Our Nation's Agony: The Civil War Letters of Lt. William Cowper Nelson of Mississippi

by Jennifer Ford (editor)

From the publisher:
The Hour of Our Nation's Agony offers a revealing look into the life of a Confederate soldier as he is transformed by the war. Through these literate, perceptive, and illuminating letters, readers can trace Lt. William Cowper Nelson’s evolution from an idealistic young soldier to a battle-hardened veteran.

Nelson joined the army at the age of nineteen, leaving behind a close-knit family in Holly Springs, Mississippi. He served for much of the war in the Third Corps of Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. By the end of the conflict, Nelson had survived many major battles, including Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, and the Wilderness, as well as the long siege of Petersburg. In his correspondence, Nelson discusses in detail the soldier’s life, religion in the ranks, his love for and heartbreak at being separated from his family, and Southern identity. Readers will find his reflections on slavery, religion, and the Confederacy particularly revealing.

Seeing and participating in the slaughter of other human beings overpowered Nelson’s romantic idealism. He had long imagined war as a noble struggle of valor, selflessness, and glory. But the sight of wounded men with “blood streaming from their wounds,” dying slow, lonely deaths showed Nelson the true nature of war. Nelson’s letters reveal the conflicting emotions that haunted many soldiers. Despite his bitter hatred of the “ruthless invaders of our beloved South,” the sight of wounded Union prisoners moved him to compassion. Nelson’s ability to write about irreconcilable moments when he felt both kindness and cruelty toward the enemy with introspection, candor, and sensitivity makes The Hour of Our Nation's Agony more than just a collection of missives. Jennifer Ford places Nelson squarely in the middle of the historiographic debate over the degree of disillusionment felt by Civil War soldiers, arguing that Nelson-like many soldiers-was a complex individual who does not fit neatly into one interpretation.

Jennifer W. Ford is head of special collections and associate professor at the J. D. Williams Library at the University of Mississippi, where the where the collection containing Lt. Nelson’s letters and other family documents is held.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Both Prayed to the Same God: Religion and Faith in the American Civil War

by Miller Robert

From the publisher:
Both Prayed to the Same God offers a popular yet scholarly overview of the most-ignored aspect of the American Civil War--the absolutely crucial role that religion played before, during, and after this deadliest of American wars.

This fascinating book outlines how religion and faith paved the way to division, were the greatest forces maintaining wartime morale, and helped shape forever how America's Civil War would be remembered.

The American Civil War: Day by Day

by Philip Katcher

From the publisher:
The bloodiest conflict in U.S. history--claiming over 600,000 lives--was also one of the most complex. This handy chronology of the Civil War allows readers to follow the conflict from opening salvo to Appomattox and to grasp at a glance the order and intricacies of all the key developments, from battles on land and sea to political maneuvers North and South. Principal commanders and political figures, key technology, transportation, and weaponry, all receive due treatment. The Civil War Day by Day goes beyond the major engagements of the war to cover lesser episodes and partisan activities (like Mosbys and Quantrills), providing a reference that is at once fingertip-quick and comprehensive--and an incomparable resource on this critical chapter in American history.

About the series:
Answering the constant need for efficient shelf reference volumes on the major topics from world history, the Brassey's Almancs will provide a cornucopia of facts and data that will satisfy the most demanding of researchers, historians, writers, battlefield visitors, wargamers and others needing information at their fingertips.

Dividing its theme into Reasons for the War, Chronology, The Leading Participants, The Combatant Forces, Weapons and Equipment, and Aids to Further Study, each title will include reference to websites, films and videos as well as basic data on the leading characters, weaponry and the prominent events of the conflict.

Relevant photographs and maps, plus extensive indexing will provide added value. Its Civil War changed America before it evolved into the world's first lone superpower; it is studied worldwide for its military and political significance.

This is the first Brassey's Almanac title. A volume on The Peninsular War is also in preparation.

From CWBN:
We find the page allocation - 192 pp - suspiciously low for a "comprehensive" chronology.

Burn the Town and Sack the Banks: Confederates Attack Vermont!

by Cathryn J. Prince

From the publisher:
On a dreary October afternoon, bands of Confederate raiders held up the three banks in St. Albans. With guns drawn, they herded the townspeople out into the common, sending the people of the North into panic. Operating out of a Confederate stronghold in Canada, the raiders were young men, mostly escapees from Union prison camps, who had been recruited to inaugurate a new kind of guerilla war along the Yankees' unprotected border.

The raid, though bungling at times, was successful. The consequent pursuit of the rebels into Canada, the celebrity-like trial it sparked in Montreal and resulting diplomatic tensions that arose between the U.S., Canada, and Great Britain, left the Southern dream of a second-front diversion in ruins. What survived, however, is a fascinating tale of the South's desperate attempt to reverse the course of the war.

Burn the Town and Sack the Banks is a tale filled with dashing soldiers, spies, posses, bumbling plans, smitten locals, lawyers, diplomats, and an idyllic Vermont town, set against the backdrop of the great battles far from the Northern border that were bringing the Civil War to its bloody conclusion.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Madness of Mary Lincoln

by Jason Emerson

From the publisher:
In 2005, historian Jason Emerson discovered a steamer trunk formerly owned by Robert Todd Lincoln's lawyer and stowed in an attic for forty years. The trunk contained a rare find: twenty-five letters pertaining to Mary Todd Lincoln's life and insanity case, letters assumed long destroyed by the Lincoln family. Mary wrote twenty of the letters herself, more than half from the insane asylum to which her son Robert had her committed, and many in the months and years after.

The Madness of Mary Lincoln is the first examination of Mary Lincoln’s mental illness based on the lost letters, and the first new interpretation of the insanity case in twenty years. This compelling story of the purported insanity of one of America’s most tragic first ladies provides new and previously unpublished materials, including the psychiatric diagnosis of Mary’s mental illness and her lost will.

Emerson charts Mary Lincoln’s mental illness throughout her life and describes how a predisposition to psychiatric illness and a life of mental and emotional trauma led to her commitment to the asylum. The first to state unequivocally that Mary Lincoln suffered from bipolar disorder, Emerson offers a psychiatric perspective on the insanity case based on consultations with psychiatrist experts.

This book reveals Abraham Lincoln’s understanding of his wife’s mental illness and the degree to which he helped keep her stable. It also traces Mary’s life after her husband’s assassination, including her severe depression and physical ailments, the harsh public criticism she endured, the Old Clothes Scandal, and the death of her son Tad.

The Madness of Mary Lincoln is the story not only of Mary, but also of Robert. It details how he dealt with his mother’s increasing irrationality and why it embarrassed his Victorian sensibilities; it explains the reasons he had his mother committed, his response to her suicide attempt, and her plot to murder him. It also shows why and how he ultimately agreed to her release from the asylum eight months early, and what their relationship was like until Mary’s death.

This historical page-turner provides readers for the first time with the lost letters that historians had been in search of for eighty years.

Jason Emerson is an independent historian who lives in Fredericksburg, Virginia. He has worked as a U.S. National Park Service historical interpreter at the Lincoln Home National Historic Site, Gettysburg National Military Park, and the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, and also as a professional journalist and freelance writer. His articles have appeared in American Heritage, American History, and Civil War Times magazines, Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, Lincoln Herald, Lincoln Forum Bulletin and online at the History News Network ( He currently is preparing a biography of Robert T. Lincoln, to be published by Southern Illinois University Press in 2009.

“Jason Emerson has written the definitive work on Mary Todd Lincoln’s mental health in general and her insanity problems in particular. Written with verve and complete understanding of the subject, The Madness of Mary Lincoln is a masterpiece.” - Wayne C. Temple, author of Abraham Lincoln: From Skeptic to Prophet

“The Madness of Mary Lincoln is precise, documented, and detailed. . . . Every word counts and every word adds up to a riveting and until-now neglected chronicle begging to be told.” - Carl Sferrazza Anthony, author of First Ladies

“A judicious, convincing analysis. . . . Emerson's new evidence demonstrates that Mary Todd Lincoln deserves to be pitied more than censured, but also that she behaved very badly indeed.” - Michael Burlingame, author of The Inner World of Abraham Lincoln

“Jason Emerson's heroic efforts to uncover new material on Robert Lincoln have paid off handsomely with this engaging interpretation of Mary Lincoln’s later years.” - —Catherine Clinton, author of Fanny Kemble’s Civil Wars

“Jason Emerson is a very, very good writer and a superior historical detective. This is a most original book, taking new evidence to new heights of sophisticated analysis.” — Harold Holzer, author of The Lincoln Family Album

From CWBN:
Amazon shows the publication date for this title as Sep 6 but the publisher's website makes it "October". We are splitting the difference by posting it today.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Social Change in America: From the Revolution to the Civil War

by Christopher Clark

From the publisher:
The processes of social change in the late colonial period and early years of the new Republic made a dramatic imprint on the character of American society. These changes over a century or more were rooted in the origins of the United States, its rapid expansion of people and territory, its patterns of economic change and development, and the conflicts that led to its cataclysmic division and reunification through the Civil War.

Christopher Clark's brilliant account of these changes in the social relationships of Americans breaks new ground in its emphasis on the crucial importance of free and unfree labor, regional characteristics, and the sustained tension between arguments for geographic expansion versus economic development.

As If It Were Glory: Robert Beecham's Civil War from the Iron Brigade to the Black Regiments

by Michael E. Stevens

From the publisher:
Unlike most Civil War memoirs, As If It Were Glory does not romanticize the war--it recognizes the valor of the troops, but also the suffering and brutality of war. At the time of these writings, the war had already ended, and Robert Beecham reflects on what he did and the outcome of the war with an honest and intelligent eye. Beecham was also leader of a newly raised African-American unit, which he calls the best and bravest soldiers that ever lived.

Michael E. Stevens is state historian at the State Historical Society of Wisconsin and lives in Madison. He has written and edited several books on common men and women during war including "Letters From the Front, 1898-1945"; "Women Remember the War, 1941-1945"; "Remembering the Holocaust"; and "Voices from Vietnam".

From CWBN:
This is the paperback edition of an earlier hardback release.

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government, V1

by Jefferson Davis (abridged version)

From the publisher:
A decade after his release from federal prison, the 67-year-old Jefferson Davis-ex-president of the Confederacy, the "Southern Lincoln," popularly regarded as a martyr to the Confederate cause-began work on his monumental Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government. Motivated partially by his deep-rooted antagonism toward his enemies (both the Northern victors and his Southern detractors), partially by his continuing obsession with the "cause," and partially by his desperate pecuniary and physical condition, Davis devoted three years and extensive research to the writing of what he termed "an historical sketch of the events which preceded and attended the struggle of the Southern states to maintain their existence and their rights as sovereign communities." The result was a perceptive two-volume chronicle, covering the birth, life, and death of the Confederacy, from the Missouri Compromise in 1820, through the tumultuous events of the Civil War, to the readmission of the Southern states to the U.S. Congress in the late 1860s. Supplemented with a new historical foreword by the Pulitzer Prize-winning James M. McPherson, The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government, Volume I belongs in the library of anyone interested in the root causes, the personalities, and the events of America's greatest war.

Civil War Ironclads: The U.S. Navy and Industrial Mobilization

by William H. Roberts

From the publisher:
Civil War Ironclads supplies the first comprehensive study of one of the most ambitious programs in the history of naval shipbuilding.

In constructing its new fleet of ironclads, William H. Roberts explains, the U.S. Navy faced the enormous engineering challenges of a largely experimental technology. In addition, it had to manage a ship acquisition program of unprecedented size and complexity. To meet these challenges, the Navy established a "project office" that was virtually independent of the existing administrative system. The office spearheaded efforts to broaden the naval industrial base and develop a marine fleet of ironclads by granting shipbuilding contracts to inland firms. Under the intense pressure of a wartime economy, it learned to support its high-technology vessels while incorporating the lessons of combat.

But neither the broadened industrial base nor the advanced management system survived the return of peace. Cost overruns, delays, and technical blunders discredited the embryonic project office, while capital starvation and never-ending design changes crippled or ruined almost every major builder of ironclads. When Navy contracts evaporated, so did the shipyards. Contrary to widespread belief, Roberts concludes, the ironclad program set Navy shipbuilding back a generation.

After retiring from the Navy in 1994 as a surface warfare officer, William H. Roberts earned his Ph.D. in history at the Ohio State University in Columbus. He is the author of USS New Ironsides in the Civil War and "Now for the Contest": Coastal and Oceanic Naval Operations in the Civil War.

From CWBN:
The publisher's description above hits exactly the right notes in explaining the significance of this book. This is an extremely interesting read to anyone with a military background and it makes a profound argument that contradicts common assumptions about the modernization of the U.S. Navy. It provides invaluable Civil War reading.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Mennonites, Amish, and the American Civil War

by James O. Lehman, Steven M. Nolt

From the publisher:
"The first serious, comprehensive study of this important and neglected subject. A well researched and carefully argued treatment that reminds us that not all churches fell into lockstep support for either the Union or the Confederacy." -- George C. Rable, University of Alabama, author of Fredericksburg! Fredericksburg, winner of the Lincoln Prize

During the American Civil War, the Mennonites and Amish faced moral dilemmas that tested the very core of their faith. How could they oppose both slavery and the war to end it? How could they remain outside the conflict without entering the American mainstream to secure legal conscientious objector status? In the North, living this ethical paradox marked them as ambivalent participants to the Union cause; in the South, it marked them as clear traitors.

In the first scholarly treatment of pacifism during the Civil War, two experts in Anabaptist studies explore the important role of sectarian religion in the conflict and the effects of wartime Americanization on these religious communities. James O. Lehman and Steven M. Nolt describe the various strategies used by religious groups who struggled to come to terms with the American mainstream without sacrificing religious values -- some opted for greater political engagement, others chose apolitical withdrawal, and some individuals renounced their faith and entered the fight.

Integrating the most recent Civil War scholarship with little-known primary sources and new information from Pennsylvania and Virginia to Illinois and Iowa, Lehman and Nolt provide the definitive account of the Anabaptist experience during the bloodiest war in American history

Monday, September 17, 2007

Lincoln: The Presidential Archives

by Chuck Wills

From the publisher:
There is no better treatment for the life of the great President Abraham Lincoln than this interactive, "museum-in-a-book," which includes accessible text, photography, and removable documents that, combined, provide an educational and entertaining reading experience for the whole family. This full biography covers Lincoln's childhood, his early political career, the Civil War, and his traumatic assassination.

Includes removable replicas of notes, sketches, maps, and letters from the President's collection. Features family photographs, presidential portraits, and other photographic ephemera from the era. Concludes with Lincoln's place in history.

A writer, editor, and consultant specializing in American History, Chuck Will's most recent books include America's Presidents, Destination America, and Boom Times, Hard Times. He has written or contributed to numerous other works on American history, including Daily Life in Colonial America and a series of historical albums on the American states. In addition to his historical work, Wills has a sideline in popular culture, technology, and music, including co-authoring Grateful Dead: The Illustrated Trip. He lives in New York City.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Camp Nelson, Kentucky: A Civil War History

by Richard, D. Sears

From the publisher:
Camp Nelson, Kentucky, was designed in 1863 as a military supply depot for the Union Army. Later it became one of the country’s most important recruiting stations and training camps for black soldiers and Kentucky’s chief center for issuing emancipation papers to former slaves.

Richard D. Sears tells the story of the rise and fall of the camp through the shifting perspective of a changing cast of characters—teachers, civilians, missionaries such as the Reverend John G. Fee, and fleeing slaves and enlisted blacks who describe their pitiless treatment at the hands of slave owners and Confederate sympathizers.

Sears fully documents the story of Camp Nelson through carefully selected military orders, letters, newspaper articles, and other correspondence, most inaccessible until now. His introduction provides a historical overview, and textual notes identify individuals and detail the course of events.

Welsh Writing from the American Civil War: Sons of Arthur, Children of Lincoln

by Jerry Hunter

From the publisher:
Nearly ten thousand pages of writing in Welsh stemming from the American Civil War have survived offering contemporary readers a surprising opportunity to look at the war from an entirely new perspective. In the first study of its kind, Jerry Hunter sifts through this huge archive of letters, diaries, poetry, and prose from soldiers, civilians, and professional writers to give a fascinating account of Welsh-American reactions to the war and its context. His examination of issues such as the Welsh community’s support for abolition and the war’s effects on notions of Welsh-American identity will captivate historians, literary scholars, and Civil War buffs alike.

Jerry Hunter is a senior lecturer in the Welsh department at the University of Wales, Bangor.

Redeeming American Democracy: Lessons from the Confederate Constitution

by Marshall Derosa

From the publisher:
“Professor DeRosa goes boldly into territory where no one has ventured before and few have even known existed. Like an intrepid explorer of lands forgotten by time, he comes back with fresh knowledge — knowledge that Americans can use to save liberty and rules the law under Constitutional government.” — Clyde Wilson, distinguished Professor Emeritus of History, University of South Carolina

The warring ideas of centralization and decentralization are at the core of modern political debates about the national economy, U.S. foreign policy, and citizens’ cultural values—just as they were among our Founding Fathers. In this controversial and thorough study, Professor Marshall DeRosa explains how the Confederate constitution carried decentralization even further than the original Constitution and added a number of safeguards against government, features which he argues would benefit Americans today.

Noting the presence of big government and excessive rules, DeRosa’s examination serves as a lesson and inspiration with his emphatic call for Americans to gain control and restore the substance of our democracy. He addresses the power of the threat of succession on rogue leaders—one of several astute theories posed that will inspire readers to reconsider their role in our nation’s redemption. The ultimate question remains: Will decisions be made in the communities where people live—or in Washington, D.C.?

Marshall L. DeRosa, Ph.D., is a distinguished scholar and expert on the Confederate constitution. His expertise includes American constitutional law and policymaking, international law, and the judicial process. In addition to this first book with Pelican, he is the author of three books and several journal articles. He is a professor of political science at Florida Atlantic University. He lives in Boca Raton, Florida.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Lincoln and Freedom: Slavery, Emancipation, and the Thirteenth Amendment

Edited by Harold Holzer and Sarah Vaughn Gabbard

From the publisher:
Lincoln’s reelection in 1864 was a pivotal moment in the history of the United States. The Emancipation Proclamation had officially gone into effect on January 1, 1863, and the proposed Thirteenth Amendment had become a campaign issue. Lincoln and Freedom: Slavery, Emancipation, and the Thirteenth Amendment captures these historic times, profiling the individuals, events, and enactments that led to slavery’s abolition. Fifteen leading Lincoln scholars contribute to this collection, covering slavery from its roots in 1619 Jamestown, through the adoption of the Constitution, to Abraham Lincoln’s presidency.

This comprehensive volume, edited by Harold Holzer and Sara Vaughn Gabbard, presents Abraham Lincoln’s response to the issue of slavery as politician, president, writer, orator, and commander-in-chief. Topics include the history of slavery in North America, the Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision, the evolution of Lincoln’s view of presidential powers, the influence of religion on Lincoln, and the effects of the Emancipation Proclamation.

This collection probingly explores slavery as a Constitutional issue, both from the viewpoint of the original intent of the nation’s founders as they failed to deal with slavery, and as a study of the Constitutional authority of the commander-in-chief as Lincoln interpreted it. Addressed are the timing of Lincoln’s decision for emancipation and its effect on the public, the military, and the slaves themselves.

Other topics covered include the role of the U.S. Colored Troops, the election campaign of 1864, and the legislative debate over the Thirteenth Amendment. The volume concludes with a heavily illustrated essay on the role that iconography played in forming and informing public opinion about emancipation and the amendments that officially granted freedom and civil rights to African Americans.

Lincoln and Freedom provides a comprehensive political history of slavery in America and offers a rare look at how Lincoln’s views, statements, and actions played a vital role in the story of emancipation.

“Lincoln and Freedom provides abundant useful information, much of it new, on Abraham Lincoln, slavery, emancipation and the Thirteenth Amendment. Moreover, the authors deal with their subjects through a variety of approaches and interpretive lenses, thereby furnishing readers with several perspectives on these important subjects.”—Richard W. Etulain, author of Beyond the Missouri: The Story of the American West

Harold Holzer is cochairman of the U.S. Lincoln Bicentennial Commission and senior vice president for external affairs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He is the author, coauthor or editor of more than twenty previous books, and his scholarship has garnered many awards. Visit for more information.

Sara Vaughn Gabbard is the editor of Lincoln Lore, The Lincoln Museum’s quarterly publication, and vice president and director of development at The Lincoln Museum.

From CWBN:
The exact day of release for this September title is unknown. Amazon shows a July 31 release but B&N and the publisher list September as the publication date.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Nothing But Freedom: Emancipation and Its Legacy

by Eric Foner

From the publisher:
Nothing But Freedom examines the aftermath of emancipation in the South and the restructuring of society by which the former slaves gained, beyond their freedom, a new relation to the land they worked on, to the men they worked for, and to the government they lived under.

Taking a comparative approach, Eric Foner examines Reconstruction in the southern states against the experience of Haiti, where a violent slave revolt was followed by the establishment of a undemocratic government and the imposition of a system of forced labor; the British Caribbean, where the colonial government oversaw an orderly transition from slavery to the creation of an almost totally dependent work force; and early twentieth-century southern and eastern Africa, where a self-sufficient peasantry was dispossessed in order to create a dependent black work force.

Measuring the progress of freedmen in the post-Civil War South against that of freedmen in other recently emancipated societies, Foner reveals Reconstruction to have been, despite its failings, a unique and dramatic experiment in interracial democracy in the aftermath of slavery. Steven Hahn's timely new foreword places Foner's analysis in the context of recent scholarship and assesses its enduring impact in the twenty-first century.

"Nothing But Freedom explodes conventional wisdom and exemplifies how we might better understand class conflict in American history."—Village Voice Literary Supplement

"Elegant and tightly argued. . . . Along the way, Foner provides us with fascinating insights into the relatively neglected debates over fencing laws and hunting and fishing rights in the post-emancipation South, and into the solidarity of the low-country black community."—Times Literary Supplement "Foner's main concern is to delineate the ways in which the newly emancipated slaves endeavored to buttress the formal freedom they had attained with the substance of political and economic power. He brings to this task both a sophisticated conceptual framework rooted in class analysis and a meticulous respect for the complexity, integrity, and independence of the past."—The Nation

"This enlightening study exposes the roots of slavery in economics and human greed." — Publishers Weekly

"Nothing But Freedom is a convincingly argued, well-researched essay that should command the attention of all students of the nineteenth-century South." — Georgia Historical Quarterly

"Erudite yet readable, concise yet profound, Nothing But Freedom offers something to satisfy every reader's interests." — Virginia Magazine of History and Biography

"Compact and smartly conceptualized study." — American Historical Review

"Foner covers this complicated story well on all levels in all locales." — Kirkus Reviews

"Foner's thorough command of sources, his lucid prose, and his expertise in American political and labor ideology combine here to demonstrate the intimate connection between the economy and the polity during Reconstruction."—North Carolina Historical Review

Eric Foner is the DeWitt Clinton Professor of History at Columbia University and the author of Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877, winner of numerous awards including the Bancroft Prize, and many other books. He serves on the editorial boards of Past and Present and The Nation and has written for the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, London Review of Books, among other publications.

From CWBN:
The exact day of release for this September title is unknown.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Between Freedom and Bondage: Race, Party, and Voting Rights in the Antebellum North

by Christopher Malone

From the publisher:
Between Freedom and Bondage looks at the fluctuations of black suffrage in the ante-bellum North, using the four states of New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Rhode Island as examples. In each of these states, a different outcome was obtained for blacks in their quest to share the vote.

By analyzing the various outcomes of state struggles, Malone offers a framework for understanding and explaining how the issue of voting rights for blacks unfolded between the drafting of the Constitution, and the end of the Civil War.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Trench Warfare under Grant and Lee: Field Fortifications in the Overland Campaign

by Earl J. Hess

From the publisher:
Here in the study of field fortifications he began in Field Armies and Fortifications in the Civil War, Earl J. Hess turns to the 1864 Overland campaign to cover battles from the Wilderness to Cold Harbor. A grueling form of trench warfare became a key feature of tactical operations during this phase of the war in Virginia

Drawing on meticulous research in primary sources and careful examination of trench remnants at the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, North Anna, Cold Harbor, and Bermuda Hundred, Hess describes Union and Confederate earthworks and how Grant and Lee used them in this new era of field entrenchments. According to Hess, the heavy reliance on earthworks by both armies in the Overland campaign was driven by Grant's relentless attacks against Lee, not by the widespread use of rifle muskets, as historians have previously argued. Entrenchments kept the armies within striking distance and compelled soldiers to dig in for protection. Despite suffering massive casualties, Grant seized control of the strategic initiative and retained it for the rest of the war in the eastern theater.

Illustrated by rare, historic photographs and new detailed maps of the trench remnants, this book constitutes the second installment of a three-volume study of field fortifications in the eastern campaigns.

Earl J. Hess is Stewart W. McClelland Chair in History at Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee. He is author or editor of nine other books, including Field Armies and Fortifications in the Civil War: The Eastern Campaigns, 1861-1864 (from the University of North Carolina Press).

Friday, September 7, 2007

The Union Cavalry in the Civil War, Volume I: From Fort Sumter to Gettysburg, 1861–1863

by Stephen Z. Starr

From the publisher:
In the first comprehensive treatment of the subject, Stephen Z. Starr covers in three volumes the dramatic story of the Union cavalry.

In this first volume he presents briefly the story of the United States cavalry prior to the Civil War, describing how the Union cavalry was raised, organized, equipped, and trained and offering detailed descriptions of the campaigns and battles in which the cavalry engaged—the Peninsula, Shenandoah Valley/Second Bull Run, Lee's invasion of Maryland, Kelly's Ford, Stoneman's May 1863 Raid, Brandy Station (Fleetwood); Aldie-Middleburg-Upperville; and Gettysburg. Starr focuses on the officers and men of the Union cavalry—who they were; how they lived, fought, behaved; what they thought. Starr tells their story, drawn from regimental records and histories, memoirs, letters, diaries, and reminiscences whenever possible in the words of the troopers themselves.

"A monumental legacy to Civil War scholarship." —Journal of Southern History (about the series as a whole)

"The writing style is as spirited as the cavalry clash at Brandy Station, and the author's well-formed judgments ring forth as clearly as a bugler sounding ‘Charge!'"—Journal of Southern History

"An important book, distinguished by ambitious scope, clarity of expression, exquisite documentation, illuminating detail, and judicious critical balance. . . . Here is a significant chapter in American military history, superbly presented."—Journal of American History

"The book is a bonanza for Civil War buffs."—Atlantic Monthly

"An ambitious project boldly conceived and brilliantly executed."—North Carolina Historical Review

‘Starr's study will likely serve as the definitive source on Union calvary in the Civil War." —Georgia Historical Review

"Rarely does a study appear that sweeps all its predecessors aside and stands alone as the authoritative source on the subject. This one does just that."—James I. Robertson, Jr, Richmond News Leader

Jules and Frances Landry Award

Stephen Z. Starr's definitive trilogy on the history of the Union cavalry also includes The Union Cavalry in the Civil War, Volume II: The War in the East from Gettysburg to Appomattox, 1863–1865 and The Union Cavalry in the Civil War, Volume III: The War in the West,1861–1865 completed shortly before his death in 1985. His other books are Colonel Grenfell's Wars: The Life of a Soldier of Fortune and Jennison's Jayhawkers: A Civil War Cavalry Regiment and Its Commander.

From CWBN:
The exact day of release for this September title is unknown.

The Union Cavalry in the Civil War, Volume II: The War in the East from Gettysburg to Appomattox, 1863–1865

by Stephen Z. Starr

From the publisher:
The Union Cavalry in the Civil War, Volume II continues the story of the cavalry's operations in the East from July 1863 to Lee's surrender in 1865.

Stephen Z. Starr follows the role of the cavalry in the early Sheridan engagements in the Shenandoah Valley and the cavalry's march from Winchester, Virginia, to rejoin the Army of the Potomac in March 1865. The dynamic energy of the battles described here emanates from Philip Sheridan, the motivating power behind the cavalry's greatest success in the final April 1865 battles of Dinwiddie Court House, Five Forks, and Sayler's Creek. In addition to the descriptions of raids—Sheridan's Yellow Tavern and Trevilian Station raids and James H. Wilson's Staunton River raid—and operation of the cavalry in support of the Army of the Potomac, the volume covers the development of tactics and more effective leadership, increasing reliance on firepower, the growing strategic importance of the cavalry, and the establishment of the Cavalry Bureau.

"A major contribution to Civil War history."—North Carolina Historical Review

"The thoroughness of Starr's research places his volume into the front row of Civil War scholarship."—Choice

"Starr's monumental work should stand for many years as the standard treatment of the subject."—Atlanta Journal Constitution

"Starr's tome possesses the attributes of Civil War history at its best."—Georgia Historical Quarterly

Jules and Frances Landry Award

Stephen Z. Starr's definitive trilogy on the history of the Union cavalry also includes The Union Cavalry in the Civil War, Volume I: From Fort Sumter to Gettysburg and The Union Cavalry in the Civil War, Volume III: The War in the West,1861–1865 completed shortly before his death in 1985. His other books are Colonel Grenfell's Wars: The Life of a Soldier of Fortune and Jennison's Jayhawkers: A Civil War Cavalry Regiment and Its Commander.

From CWBN:
The exact day of release for this September title is unknown.

The Union Cavalry in the Civil War, Volume III: The War in the West, 1861–1865

by Stephen Z. Starr

From the publisher:
With this volume Stephen Z. Starr brings to a triumphant conclusion his prize-winning trilogy on the history of the Union cavalry.

The War in the West provides accounts of the cavalry's role in the Vicksburg campaign, the conquest of central Tennessee, Sherman's Atlanta Campaign, the March to the Sea, and the campaign of the Carolinas. Starr never neglects the numerous difficulties the cavalry faced: equipment shortages; inadequate weapons; unsuitable organization; and inept use of the cavalry by many members of the Union high command. And he never ignores the cavalry's own contributions to its failures. He convincingly demonstrates that in the end, in the battle of Nashville and in the Selma Campaign, the Union cavalry proved enormously effective. With this final volume Starr's objective remains "the portrayal of the life and campaigns of the Union cavalry as they were experienced and fought by its troopers and officers."

"Volume three superbly completes a splendid historical work that surely will be a standard and permanent part of all respectable Civil War libraries." — Civil War Times Illustrated

"An analytical narrative and a reference work that will endure as the benchmark history of the Union calvary." — Civil War History

"An excellent, vigorously written, well-documented study of a relatively neglected Civil War subject." — Journal of the West

Jules and Frances Landry Award

Stephen Z. Starr died in early 1985, shortly after completing work on this third volume of his history of the Union cavalry. The other books in the trilogy are The Union Cavalry in the Civil War, Volume I: From Fort Sumter to Gettysburg, 1861–1863 , and The Union Cavalry in the Civil War, Volume II: The War in the East from Gettysburg to Appomattox, 1863–1865. He is also the author of Colonel Grenfell's Wars: The Life of a Soldier of Fortune and Jennison's Jayhawkers: A Civil War Cavalry Regiment and Its Commander.

From CWBN:
The exact day of release for this September title is unknown.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

In the Footsteps of Grant and Lee: The Wilderness Through Cold Harbor

by Gordon C. Rhea (Author) and Chris E. Heisey (Photographer)

From the publisher:
In early May 1864, Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant initiated a drive through central Virginia to crush Robert E. Lee's Confederate Army of Northern Virginia. For forty days, the armies fought a grinding campaign from the Rapidan River to the James River that helped decide the course of the Civil War. Several of the war's bloodiest engagements occurred in this brief period: the Wilderness, Spotsylvania Court House, the North Anna River, Totopotomoy Creek, Bethesda Church, and Cold Harbor.

Pitting Grant and Lee against one another for the first time in the war, the Overland Campaign, as this series of battles and maneuvers came to be called, represents military history at its most intense. In the Footsteps of Grant and Lee, a unique blend of narrative and photographic journalism from Gordon C. Rhea, the foremost authority on the Overland Campaign, and Chris E. Heisey, a leading photographer of Civil War battlefields, provides a stunning, stirring account of this deadly game of wits and will between the Civil War's foremost military commanders.

Here Grant fought and maneuvered to flank Lee out of his heavily fortified earthworks. And here Lee demonstrated his genius as a defensive commander, countering Grant's every move. Adding to the melee were cavalry brawls among the likes of Philip H. Sheridan, George A. Custer, James Ewell Brown "Jeb" Stuart, and Wade Hampton. Forty days of combat produced horrific casualties, some 55,000 on the Union side and 35,000 on the Confederate. By the time Grant crossed the James and began the Siege of Petersburg, marking an end to this maneuver, both armies had sustained significant losses that dramatically reduced their numbers.

Rhea provides a rich, fast-paced narrative, movingly illustrated by more than sixty powerful color images from Heisey, who captures the many moods of these hallowed battlegrounds as they appear today. Heisey made scores of visits to the areas where Grant and Lee clashed, giving special attention to lesser-known sites on byways and private property. He captures some of central Virginia's most stunning landscapes, reminding us that though battlefields conjure visions of violence, death, and sorrow, they can also be places of beauty and contemplation. Accompanying the modern pictures are more than twenty contemporary photographs taken during the campaign or shortly afterwards, some of them never before published.

At once an engaging military history and a vivid pictorial journey, In the Footsteps of Grant and Lee offers a fresh vision of some of the country's most significant historic sites.

Gordon C. Rhea is the author of four books on the Overland Campaign: The Battle of the Wilderness, May 5-6, 1864; The Battles for Spotsylvania Court House and the Road to Yellow Tavern, May 7-12, 1864; To the North Anna River: Grant and Lee, May 13-25, 1864; and Cold Harbor: Grant and Lee, May 26-June 3, 1864. He is currently writing the fifth and concluding volume in the series. A frequent lecturer on military history and a practicing attorney, he lives in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, with his wife and two sons.

Chris E. Heisey is coauthor of Gettysburg: This Hallowed Ground. He is a photojournalist for the Roman Catholic Diocese in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and lives in Mechanicsburg with his wife and son.

From CWBN:
The exact day of release for this September title is unknown.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Earthen Walls, Iron Men: Fort DeRussy, Louisiana, and the Defense of Red River

by Steven M. Mayeux

From the publisher:
“This book will be of great use to historians of the western theatre of the Civil War, to the reader of nineteenth-century history, and to students of the undergraduate and graduate levels. - Gary D. Joiner, author of Through the Howling Wilderness: The 1864 Red River Campaign and Union Failure in the West

Earthen Walls, Iron Men tells the story of Fort DeRussy, Louisiana, a major Confederate fortification that defended the lower Red River in 1863-64 during the last stages of the Civil War. Long regarded as little more than a footnote by historians, the fort in fact played a critical role in the defense of the Red River region. The Red River Campaign was one of the Confederacy's last great triumphs of the war, and only the end of the conflict saved the reputations of Union leaders who had recently been so successful at Vicksburg. Fort DeRussy was the linchpin of the Confederates' tactical and strategic victory.

Steven M. Mayeux does more than just tell the story of the fort from the military perspective; it goes deeper to closely examine the lives of the people that served in-and lived around-Fort DeRussy. Through a thorough examination of local documents, Mayeux has uncovered the fascinating stories that reveal for the first time what wartime life was like for those living in central Louisiana.

In this book, the reader will meet soldiers and slaves, plantation owners and Jayhawkers, elderly women and newborn babies, all of whom played important roles in making the history of Fort DeRussy. Mayeux presents an unvarnished portrait of the life at the fort, devoid of any romanticized notions, but more accurately capturing the utter humanity of those who built it, defended it, attacked it, and lived around it.

Earthen Walls, Iron Men intertwines the stories of naval battles and military actions with those human elements such as greed, theft, murder, and courage to create a vibrant, relevant history that will appeal to all who seek to know what real life was like during the Civil War.

Steve Mayeux is a graduate of LSU and a former Marine officer. His work as an agricultural consultant in the central Louisiana area for the past thirty years has given him a great appreciation for the history and geography of the lower Red River.

From CWBN:
The exact day of release for this September title is unknown.

Trench Warfare under Grant and Lee: Field Fortifications in the Overland Campaign

by Earl J. Hess

From the publisher:
This fine book covers a significant unexplored topic in gratifying depth. — Robert K. Krick, author of Stonewall Jackson at Cedar Mountain and Civil War Weather in Virginia

In the study of field fortifications in the Civil War that began with Field Armies and Fortifications in the Civil War, Hess turns to the 1864 Overland campaign to cover battles from the Wilderness to Cold Harbor. Drawing on meticulous research in primary sources and careful examination of trench remnants at the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, North Anna, Cold Harbor, and Bermuda Hundred, Hess describes Union and Confederate earthworks and how Grant and Lee used them in this new era of field entrenchments.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Stonewall Jackson

by Don A. Davis

From the publisher:
Deemed "irreplaceable" by Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson assumed his nickname during the Battle of Bull Run in the Civil War. It is said that The Army of Northern Virginia never fully recovered from the loss of Stonewall's leadership when he was accidentally shot by one of his own men and died in 1863. Davis highlights in Stonewall Jackson a general who emphasized the importance of reliable information and early preparedness (he so believed in information that he had a personal mapmaker with him at all times) and details Jackson's many lessons in strategy and leadership.

Donald A. Davis is co-author of New York Times bestseller Shooter: The Autobiography of the Top-Ranked Marine Sniper and author of Lightning Strike: The Secret Mission to Kill Admiral Yamamoto and Avenge Pearl Harbor. He lives outside Boulder, Colorado.

From Publishers Weekly:
This reverential biography of Jackson is the latest in Palgrave's Great Generals series, but it's not as concise as its slim volume might suggest. [...] Author Davis (Lightning Strike) dutifully relates Jackson's unlegendary generalship on the Peninsula and at Fredericksburg, but like many Confederate hero biographers, his unrestrained admiration leads to purple prose ("The blue eyes of Stonewall Jackson again blazed with excitement"). Those seeking more insight into Jackson will find Byron Farwell's 1992 biography longer, but more rewarding.

From Library Journal:
Taking an evenhanded approach, he presents differing schools of thought about Jackson's legacy and questions whether Jackson would succeed in today's politically influenced military. Davis intensifies his subject's relevance by interjecting several allusions to the current war in Iraq. While these references may at first seem awkward, they do add valid points of comparison. The book's only drawback is the lack of maps, which would have greatly helped to explain Jackson's strategic maneuvers. An excellent little book nonetheless; recommended for public and academic libraries.

The Jones-Imboden Raid: The Confederate Attempt to Destroy the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad and Retake West Virginia

by Darrell L. Collins

From the publisher:
When Virginia seceded from the United States in 1861, its western counties showed very little popular support for the Confederacy, and loyalist bands of bushwhackers, partisans and guerillas drove most Southern sympathizers from the region.

Most inconvenient for the Confederacy was the fact that these counties (which later would become West Virginia) housed the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, which connected Washington with the Midwest's vast wealth of manpower and supplies. This work covers the Confederacy's 1863 attempt to invade West Virginia and destroy the critical B&O line.

Rich with oral history, the book gives a detailed, personal account of the ultimately unsuccessful Jones-Imboden Raid.

From CWBN:
The exact day of release for this September title is unknown. Amazon mistakenly gives it as July 31.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Andersonville Journey: The Civil War's Greatest Tragedy

by Edward, F. Roberts

From the publisher:
Showing the importance of Andersonville Prison in our understanding of the prisoner of war experience in American history, Andersonville Journey objectively tells its complete story from before the Civil War to the recent placement of Georgia Monument in its cemetery grounds. Andersonville--the name itself immediately evokes visions of human suffering and death amid crowded, filthy conditions. This is the first book to go beyond its war years to document the important and fascinating post-Civil War story of one of the most famous prisoner of war camps in history.