Saturday, February 21, 2009

Liberty to the Downtrodden: Thomas L. Kane, Romantic Reformer

by Matthew J. Grow

From the publisher:
Thomas L. Kane (1822-1883), a crusader for antislavery, women's rights, and the downtrodden, rose to prominence in his day as the most ardent and persuasive defender of Mormons' religious liberty. Though not a Mormon, Kane sought to defend the much-reviled group from the "Holy War" waged against them by evangelical America. His courageous personal intervention averted a potentially catastrophic bloody conflict between federal troops and Mormon settlers in the now nearly forgotten Utah War of 1857-58.

Drawing on extensive, newly available archives, this book is the first to tell the full story of Kane's extraordinary life. The book illuminates his powerful Philadelphia family, his personal life and eccentricities, his reform achievements, his place in Mormon history, and his career as a Civil War general. Further, the book revises previous understandings of nineteenth-century reform, showing how Kane and like-minded others fused Democratic Party ideology, anti-evangelicalism, and romanticism.

This book's exact release date is unknown but falls within this month.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

One Man Great Enough

by John C. Waugh

From the publisher:
How did Abraham Lincoln, long held as a paragon of presidential bravery and principled politics, find his way to the White House? How did he become this one man great enough to risk the fate of the nation on the well-worn but cast-off notion that all men are created equal?

Here award-winning historian John C. Waugh takes us on Lincoln’s road to the Civil War. From Lincoln's first public rejection of slavery to his secret arrival in the capital, from his stunning debates with Stephen Douglas to his contemplative moments considering the state of the country he loved, Waugh shows us America as Lincoln saw it and as Lincoln described it. Much of this wonderful story is told by Lincoln himself, detailing through his own writing his emergence onto the political scene and the evolution of his beliefs about the Union, the Constitution, democracy, slavery, and civil war. Waugh brings Lincoln’s path into new reliefby letting the great man tell his own story, at a depth that brings us ever closer to understanding this mysterious, complicated, truly great man.

JOHN C. WAUGH is the award-winning author of four other books about the Civil War. A former bureau chief for the Christian Science Monitor, his writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Boston Globe, and the Civil War Times Illustrated. He lives in Texas.

This book's exact release date is unknown but falls within this month.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Mrs. Dred Scott

by Lea Vandervelde

From the publisher:
Among the most infamous U.S. Supreme Court decisions is Dred Scott v. Sandford. Despite the case's signal importance as a turning point in America's history, the lives of the slave litigants have receded to the margins of the record, as conventional accounts have focused on the case's judges and lawyers. In telling the life of Harriet, Dred's wife and co-litigant in the case, this book provides a compensatory history to the generations of work that missed key sources only recently brought to light. Moreover, it gives insight into the reasons and ways that slaves used the courts to establish their freedom.

A remarkable piece of historical detective work, Mrs. Dred Scott chronicles Harriet's life from her adolescence on the 1830s Minnesota-Wisconsin frontier, to slavery-era St. Louis, through the eleven years of legal wrangling that ended with the high court's notorious decision. The book not only recovers her story, but also reveals that Harriet may well have been the lynchpin in this pivotal episode in American legal history.

Reconstructing Harriet Scott's life through innovative readings of journals, military records, court dockets, and even frontier store ledgers, VanderVelde offers a stunningly detailed account that is at once a rich portrait of slave life, an engrossing legal drama, and a provocative reassessment of a central event in U.S. constitutional history. More than a biography, the book is a deep social history that freshly illuminates some of the major issues confronting antebellum America, including the status of women, slaves, Free Blacks, and Native Americans.

This book's exact release date is unknown but falls within this month.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Jack Hinson's One-Man War, A Civil War Sniper

by Tom C. McKenney

From the publisher:
Jack Hinson never planned to become a deadly sniper. A prosperous and influential Kentucky plantation owner in the 1850s, Hinson was devoted to raising his growing family and working his land. Yet by 1865, Hinson had likely killed more than one hundred men and had single-handedly taken down an armed Union transport in his one-man war against Grant's army and navy. By the end of the Civil War, the Union had committed infantry and cavalry from nine regiments and a specially equipped amphibious task force of marines to capture Hinson, who was by that time nearly sixty years old. They never caught him. Since then, the story of Jack Hinson has evaded astute historians, and until now, he has remained invisible in the history of sniper warfare.

John S. "Old Jack" Hinson watched the start of the Civil War with impartial disinterest. A friend of Ulysses S. Grant and Confederate officers alike, Hinson was opposed to secession, focused instead on his personal affairs. After a unit of Union occupation troops moved in on his land and summarily captured, executed, and placed the decapitated heads of his sons on his gateposts, however, Hinson abandoned his quiet life for one of revenge.

In this unprecedented and incredible biography, Lt. Col. Tom C. McKenney masterfully recounts Hinson's extraordinary feats as a lone Confederate sniper. Equipped with a rifle he had specially made for long-range accuracy, Hinson became a deadly gadfly to the occupying army. An exemplary piece of historical scholarship and the result of fifteen years of research, this definitive biography includes an amazing cast of characters including the Earp Brothers, Nathan Bedford Forrest, and Jesse James, the cousin of Hinson's wife. This breathtaking story was all but destroyed by the obliterating forces of history and is the only account in print chronicling this one man's impact on the Civil War.

Lt. Col. Tom C. McKenney, USMC (Ret.) is a graduate of the University of Kentucky and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He was an infantry officer and parachutist in the United States Marine Corps, serving in Korea and Vietnam. A student of military history, he has contributed articles to such magazines as Guideposts, the American Legion Magazine, Military, and Leatherneck. His books and activism for veterans' issues have had him appearing on hundreds of radio and television programs including Fox News, the Today Show, and CBS Morning News.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Abraham Lincoln's World: How Riverboats, Railroads and Republicans Transformed America

by Thomas Crump

From the publisher:
Abraham Lincoln's World describes not only important new developments during Lincoln's life-time, but also relates them -- and other key events-- to the appropriate historical and geographical context. There are chapters devoted to Missouri, California, Kansas, Texas and the deep south, and to Illinois, Lincoln's own home-state. The book's final chapter focuses on Lincoln's four years (1861-65) in the White House, but it also describes how Lincoln won both the presidential race and the war that then followed, almost inevitably, as a result of this victory.

Thomas Crump also examines how the United States was transformed - politically, economically, geographically and socially - during Lincoln's life and how more than anyone else, he adapted to these changes and gave them a new direction. Crump's portrait of Lincoln's America shows how institutions, places and people changed during Lincoln's lifetime and how by the time of his death the country was on the verge of a great breakthrough. Written with clarity and insight this is an engaging account of the true beginnings of the modern United States.

Thomas Crump published his first book in 1963 and has written books on law, science, anthropology and history. As an academic he worked mainly in the United States at many universities including Harvard, Princeton, Yale and Georgetown.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Lincoln on Race and Slavery

by Henry Louis, Jr. Gates and Donald Yacovone (Editors)

From the publisher:
Generations of Americans have debated the meaning of Abraham Lincoln's views on race and slavery. He issued the Emancipation Proclamation, authorized the use of black troops during the Civil War, supported a constitutional amendment to outlaw slavery, and eventually advocated giving the vote to black veterans and to what he referred to as "very intelligent negroes." But he also harbored grave doubts about the intellectual capacity of African Americans, publicly used the n-word until at least 1862, enjoyed "darky" jokes and black-faced minstrel shows, and long favored permanent racial segregation and the voluntary "colonization" of freed slaves in Africa, the Caribbean, or South America. In this book--the first complete collection of Lincoln's important writings on both race and slavery--readers can explore these contradictions through Lincoln's own words. Acclaimed Harvard scholar and documentary filmmaker Henry Louis Gates, Jr., presents the full range of Lincoln's views, gathered from his private letters, speeches, official documents, and even race jokes, arranged chronologically from the late 1830s to the 1860s.

Complete with definitive texts, rich historical notes, and Gates's original introduction, this book charts the progress of a war within Lincoln himself. We witness his struggles with conflicting aims and ideas--a hatred of slavery and a belief in the political equality of all men, but also anti-black prejudices and a determination to preserve the Union even at the cost of preserving slavery. We also watch the evolution of his racial views, especially in reaction to the heroic fighting of black Union troops.

At turns inspiring and disturbing, Lincoln on Race and Slavery is indispensable for understanding what Lincoln's views meant for his generation--and what they mean for our own.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Defending The Union Left Flank: General Dan Sickles at the Battle of Gettysburg

by B. Thomas Kopac

From the publisher:
The Battle of Gettysburg continues to capture the interest of people. The magnitude and scale of the battle draws thousands of visitors to the National Military Park each year. The area of greatest interest is the Union left flank. Devil’s Den, the Wheatfield, and Little Round Top are some of the most highly visited areas of that hallowed ground. It was here that the fiercest fighting took place. Defense of this area was given to General Dan Sickles. Sickles failed to follow orders and committed one of the greatest blunders of the war. Failure to secure Little Round Top was a costly error for the Army of the Potomac. Separating his corps from the army and creating a vulnerable salient, Sickles almost lost the Battle of Gettysburg. This book is an in-depth look at the life and military career of this highly controversial general and his actions at the Battle of Gettysburg.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Abraham Lincoln as a Man of Ideas (

by Allen C. Guelzo

From the publisher:
Abraham Lincoln was a skilled politician, an inspirational leader, and a man of humor and pathos. What many may not realize is how much he was also a man of ideas. Despite the most meager of formal educations, Lincoln’s tremendous intellectual curiosity drove him into the circle of Enlightenment philosophy and democratic political ideology. And from these, Lincoln developed a set of political convictions that guided him throughout his life and his presidency. Abraham Lincoln as a Man of Ideas, a compilation of ten essays from Lincoln scholar, Allen C. Guelzo, uncovers the hidden sources of Lincoln’s ideas and examines the beliefs that directed his career and brought an end to slavery and the Civil War.

These essays reveal Lincoln to be a man of impressive intellectual probity and depth as well as a man of great contradictions. He was an apostle of freedom who did not believe in human free will; a champion of the Constitution who had to step outside of it in order to save it; a man of many acquaintances and admirers, but few friends; a man who opposed slavery but also opposed the abolition of it; a man of prudence who took more political risks than any other president.

Guelzo explores the many faces of Lincoln’s ideas, and especially the influence of the Founding Fathers and the great European champions of democracy. And he links the 16th president’s struggles with the issues of race, emancipation, religion, and civil liberties to the challenges these issues continue to offer to Americans today.

Lincoln played many roles in his life—lawyer, politician, president—but in each he was driven by a core of values, convictions, andbeliefs about economics, society, and democracy. Abraham Lincoln as a Man of Ideas is a broad and exciting survey of the ideas that made Lincoln great, just as we celebrate the bicentennial his birth.

Allen C. Guelzo, the author of Lincoln and Douglas: The Debates that Defined America, is Henry R. Luce Professor of the Civil War Era at Gettysburg College. He is a member of the National Council for the Humanities and a two-time winner of the Lincoln Prize, for Abraham Lincoln: Redeemer President and Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation: The End of Slavery in America.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Two Witnesses at Gettysburg: The Personal Accounts of Whitelaw Reid and A. J. L. Fremantle

by Gary W. Gallagher (Editor)

From the publisher:
The two reporters, A.J.L. Fremantle and Whitelaw Reid, one traveling with the Union army and the other with the Confederates, are the authors of these two magnificent firsthand accounts of the battle of Gettysburg in 1863, the pivotal action of the Civil War.

+ Presents engaging firsthand accounts of the battle of Gettysburg
+ Completely updated with a new introduction, references, illustrations and maps
+ Includes a bibliographic essay for further reading
+ Provides students with a unique and engaging look at the most pivotal action of the Civil War

This is the second edition of a previously published hardback.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Crucible of the Civil War: Virginia from Secession to Commemoration

by Edward L. Ayers, Gary W. Gallagher, and Andrew J. Torget, eds.

From the publisher:
Serving both as home to the Confederacy's capital, Richmond, and as the war's primary battlefield, Virginia held a unique place in the American Civil War, while also witnessing the privations and hardships that marked life in all corners of the Confederacy. Yet despite an overwhelming literature on the battles that raged across the state and the armies and military leaders involved, few works have examined Virginia as a distinctive region during the conflict. In Crucible of the Civil War: Virginia from Secession to Commemoration, Edward L. Ayers, Gary W. Gallagher, and Andrew J. Torget together with other scholars, offer an illuminating portrait of the state's wartime economic, political, and social institutions.

Weighing in on contentious issues within established scholarship while also breaking ground in areas long neglected by scholars, several of the essays examine such concerns as the war's effect on slavery in the state, the wartime intersection of race and religion, and the development of Confederate social networks. Other contributions shed light on topics long disputed by historians, such as Virginia's decision to secede from the Union, the development of Confederate nationalism, and how Virginians chose to remember the war after its close.

For anyone interested in Virginia during the Civil War, Crucible of the Civil War offers new ways to approach the study of the most important state in the Confederacy during the bloodiest war in American history.

This book's exact release date is unknown but falls within this month.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Abraham Lincoln

by James M. McPherson

From the publisher:
Marking the two hundredth anniversary of Lincoln's birth, this marvelous short biography by a leading historian offers an illuminating portrait of one of the giants in the American story.

Pulitzer Prize-winning author James M. McPherson follows the son of Thomas Lincoln and Nancy Hanks from his early years in Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois, to his highly successful law career and his marriage to Mary Todd, to his one term in Congress. We witness the dramatic impact the Kansan-Nebraska Act had on Lincoln, arousing him "as he had never been before," leading him to plunge back into politics as a leader of the Republican anti-slavery movement. In 1858, Lincoln ran for Senator in Illinois as a Republican, challenging Stephen A. Douglas (a long acquaintance and former rival for the hand of Mary Todd) to a series of famous debates. Lincoln lost the election, but politically his star rose even higher, and he became a candidate for president in 1860, winning the presidency despite garnering less than 40% of the popular vote, and no votes at all in ten southern states. McPherson describes Lincoln's masterful role as Commander in Chief during the Civil War, the writing of the Emancipation Proclamation, and his assassination by John Wilkes Booth. A final section discusses his lasting legacy and why he remains a quintessential American hero two hundred years after his birth, while a bibliography and a list of online resources permit easy access to further scholarship.

McPherson here provides an ideal short account of Lincoln--a compelling biography of a man of humble origins who preserved our nation during its greatest catastrophe and ended the scourge of slavery.

Initially moved to study the history of the South as a way of understanding the civil rights movement, James M. McPherson has become the preeminent expert on the Civil War and Reconstruction. His award-winning work provides detail, context and a modern perspective on one of America's most important historical periods.

We are showing this book as published today despite conflicting publication dates.