Sunday, August 30, 2009

Take Care of the Living: Reconstructing Confederate Veteran Families in Virginia

by Jeffrey W. McClurken

From the publisher:
Take Care of the Living assesses the short- and long-term impact of the war on Confederate veteran families of all classes in Pittsylvania County and Danville, Virginia.

Using letters, diaries, church minutes, and military and state records, as well as close analysis of the entire 1860 and 1870 Pittsylvania County manuscript population census, McClurken explores the consequences of the war for over three thousand Confederate soldiers and their families. The author reveals an array of strategies employed by those families to come to terms with their postwar reality, including reorganizing and reconstructing the household, turning to local churches for emotional and economic support, pleading with local elites for financial assistance or positions, sending psychologically damaged family members to a state-run asylum, and looking to the state for direct assistance in the form of replacement limbs for amputees, pensions, and even state-supported homes for old soldiers and widows.

Although these strategies or institutions for reconstructing the family had their roots in existing practices, the extreme need brought on by the scope and impact of the Civil War required an expansion beyond anything previously seen. McClurken argues that this change serves as a starting point for the study of the evolution of southern welfare.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Sea Eagle: The Civil War Memoir of LCdr. William B. Cushing, U.S.N.

by Alden Carter

From the publisher:
William Barker Cushing is considered one of the navy's greatest heroes of the Civil War. After his expulsion from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1861, Cushing managed to get an appointment as a master's mate on one of the warships of a blockading squadron. Cushing's daring and exceptional performance in battle led to a spectacular rise in rank, responsibility, and reputation. His military career culminated in his torpedoing of the Confederate ironclad Albemarle on the Roanoke River in 1864, an operation he executed under heavy enemy fire. This new and fully annotated edition of Cushing's memoir, originally written in 1867/1868, conveys the excitement and drama of a truly extraordinary Civil War naval career.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Rebel at Large: The Diary of Confederate Deserter Philip Van Buskirk

by Philip Van Buskirk, B. R. Burg (Editor)

From the publisher:
This diary is one of the most unusual produced during the Civil War because it contains very little about military life. Early in the war Van Buskirk abandoned his regiment, working as a schoolmaster, farm hand, and casual laborer. He wrote of the suffering civilians endured at the hands of contending armies. But he also found time to chronicle his fascination with handsome young lads he encountered during his life as a deserter—unwittingly providing modern readers an illuminating glimpse of class differences and sexual mores. Naval, social and sexual historians, in particular, will find much valuable source material.

B.R. Burg is a professor of history at Arizona State University and has written extensively on the sexuality among seafarers and the sexual abuse of children.

The Civil War at Perryville: Battling for the Bluegrass

by Christopher L. Kolakowski

From the publisher:
Desperate to seize control of Kentucky, the Confederate army launched an invasion into the commonwealth in the fall of 1862, viciously culminating at an otherwise quite Bluegrass crossroads and forever altering the landscape of the war. The Battle lasted just one day yet produced nearly eight thousand combined casualties and losses, and some say nary a victor. The Rebel army was forced to retreat, and United States kept its imperative grasp on Kentucky throughout the war.

Few know this hallowed ground like Christopher L. Kolakowski, former director of the Perryville Battlefield Preservation Association, who draws on letters, reports, memoirs and other primary sources to offer the most accessible and engaging account of the Kentucky campaign yet, featuring over sixty historic images and maps.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Homeland (novel)

by Barbara Hambly

From the publisher:
Those who loved Cold Mountain or Geraldine Brooks’s March will embrace and long remember this spellbinding novel of two remarkable women torn apart by conflict, sustained by literature and art, united by friendship and hope.

As brother turns against brother in the bloodbath of the Civil War, two young women sacrifice everything but their friendship. Susanna Ashford is the Southerner, living on a plantation surrounded by scarred and blood-soaked battlefields. Cora Poole is the Northerner, on an isolated Maine island, her beloved husband fighting for the Confederacy. Through the letters the two women exchange, they speak of the ordeal of a familiar world torn apart by tragedy. And yet their unique friendship will help mend the fabric of a ravaged nation.

The two women write about books and art, about loss and longing, about their future and the future of their country. About love. About being a woman in nineteenth-century America. About the triumphant resilience of the human spirit.

Their voices and their stories are delineated in indomitable prose by an award-winning writer who captures in intimate detail a singular moment in time. In Homeland, Barbara Hambly takes readers on a unique odyssey across a landscape treacherous with hardship and hatred. She paints a passionate masterpiece of a friendship that not only transforms our understanding of the most heart-wrenching era of American history but celebrates the power of women to change their world.

The Civil War at Sea

by Craig L. Symonds

From the publisher:
From Craig Symonds, author of the 2009 Lincoln Prize award-winner Lincoln and His Admirals, comes a fascinating look at the era when American naval power came of age. Thoroughly researched and excitingly written, it brings to light a wealth of new information on a pivotal aspect of the Civil War.

The Civil War at Sea covers navies on both sides of the conflict, examining key issues such as the impact of emergent technologies, the effectiveness of the Union's ambitious strategy of blockading, the odyssey of Confederate commerce raiders, the role of naval forces on the western rivers, and the difficulty of conducting combined sea and ground operations against the major Southern port cities. For Civil War buffs, fans of military and technological history, and other interested readers, it is insightful, essential reading.

Friday, August 21, 2009

The 151st Pennsylvania Volunteers at Gettysburg: Like Ripe Apples in a Storm

by Michael A. Dreese

From the publisher:
Dreese, president of the Friends and Descendants of the 151st Pennsylvania, describes how the relatively untried troops lost over 72% of their strength to death, wounds, or capture during the course of the battle as they fought Pettigrew's North Carolinians on July 1st and helped repulse the famous Confederate charge two days later.

Michael A. Dreese is the author of five books and numerous journal articles on topics including Pennsylvania and the American Civil War. An award-winning photographer, he is the president of the Friends and Descendants of the 151st Pennsylvania, and vice-president of the Susquehanna Civil War Round Table. He lives in Kreamer, Pennsylvania.

Lincoln of Kentucky

by Lowell H. Harrison

From the publisher:
Young Abraham Lincoln and his family joined the migration over the Ohio River, but it was Kentucky--the state of his birth--that shaped his personality and continued to affect his life. His wife was from the commonwealth, as were each of the other women with whom he had romantic relationships. Henry Clay was his political idol; Joshua Speed of Farmington, near Louisville, was his lifelong best friend; and all three of his law partners were Kentuckians.

During the Civil War, Lincoln is reputed to have said, "I hope to have God on my side, but I must have Kentucky." He recognized Kentucky's importance as the bellwether of the four loyal slave states and accepted the commonwealth's illegal neutrality until Unionists secured firm control of the state government. Lowell Harrison emphasizes the particular skill and delicacy with which Lincoln handled the problems of a loyal slave state populated by a large number of Confederate sympathizers. It was not until decades later that Kentuckians fully recognized Lincoln's greatness and paid homage to their native son.

Lowell H. Harrison, professor emeritus of history at Western Kentucky University, is the author of several books, including The Civil War in Kentucky and George Rogers Clark and the War in the West, and editor of Kentucky’s Governors. He is coauthor of A New History of Kentucky.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

American Civil War Railroad Tactics

by Robert Hodges

From the publisher:
The American Civil War was the world's first full-blown 'railroad war'. The well-developed network in the North was of great importance in serving the Union army's logistic needs over long distances, and the sparser resources of the South were proportionately even more important. Both sides invested great efforts in raiding and wrecking enemy railroads and defending and repairing their own, and battles often revolved around strategic rail junctions.

Robert Hodges reveals the thrilling chases and pitched battles that made the railroad so dangerous and resulted in a surprisingly high casualty rate. He describes the equipment and tactics used by both sides and the vital supporting elements - maintenance works, telegraph lines, fuel and water supplies, as well as garrisoned blockhouses to protect key points. Full-color illustrations bring the fast-paced action to life in this fascinating read; a must-have volume for both rail and Civil War enthusiasts.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Last Generation: Young Virginians in Peace, War, and Reunion

by Peter S. Carmichael

From the publisher:
Challenging the popular conception of Southern youth on the eve of the Civil War as intellectually lazy, violent, and dissipated, Peter S. Carmichael looks closely at the lives of more than one hundred young white men from Virginia's last generation to grow up with the institution of slavery. He finds them deeply engaged in the political, economic, and cultural forces of their time. Age, he concludes, created special concerns for young men who spent their formative years in the 1850s.

Before the Civil War, these young men thought long and hard about Virginia's place as a progressive slave society. They vigorously lobbied for disunion despite opposition from their elders, then served as officers in the Army of Northern Virginia as frontline negotiators with the nonslaveholding rank and file. After the war, however, they quickly shed their Confederate radicalism to pursue the political goals of home rule and New South economic development and reconciliation. Not until the turn of the century, when these men were nearing the ends of their lives, did the mythmaking and storytelling begin, and members of the last generation recast themselves once more as unreconstructed Rebels.

By examining the lives of members of this generation on personal as well as generational and cultural levels, Carmichael sheds new light on the formation and reformation of Southern identity during the turbulent last half of the nineteenth century.

Peter S. Carmichael is assistant professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. His previous books include Lee's Young Artillerist: William R. J. Pegram and Audacity Personified: The Generalship of Robert E. Lee.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Abraham Lincoln (play)

by John Drinkwater

From the publisher:
John Drinkwater (1882-1937) who also wrote under the pseudonyms John Darnley and E. Wilmot Terris, was an English poet and dramatist. He was born in Leytonstone, London, and worked as an insurance clerk. In the period immediately before the First World War, he was one of the group of poets associated with the Gloucestershire village of Dymock, along with Rupert Brooke and others.

In 1918, he scored his first major success with his play, Abraham Lincoln. He followed it up with other plays in a similar vein, including: Mary Stuart (1921) and Oliver Cromwell (1921). He progressed into literary criticism, and later became manager of Birmingham Repertory Theatre. His other works include: The Death of Leander and Other Poems (1906), Lyrical and Other Poems (1907), Poems of Men and Hours (1911), Cophetua (1911), An English Medley (1911), The Pied Piper (1912), Poems of Love and Earth (1912), The Only Legend (1913), Pussin Boots (1913) and Rebellion (1914).

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Great Commanders Head to Head: The Battles of the Civil War

by Kevin Doughery

From the publisher:
There have been many books written about the Civil War, but none have captured the bloody battles quite like Great Commanders Head to Head. Discover what drove Ulysses S. Grant and other great Civil War leaders on and off the battlefield, and how their victories and losses shaped the war—and America. Each chapter examines a decisive battle between a pair of imposing adversaries, featuring some of the greatest American commanders in battle: Lee vs. McClellan on the blood-soaked fields of Antietam, Beauregard vs. McDowell at First Manassas, and Sherman vs. Hood in the March to the Sea. Each head-to-head battle includes a contextual introduction, a description of the action, and an analysis of the aftermath. Military experts share their insights into the strategies of each commander. Specially commissioned, full-color maps depict an overhead view of featured battles, including the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863. Conflicts are described as they happened, with insightful annotations and color-coded symbols to show the movement of opposing forces. Special box features showcase opposing commanders’ strengths and weaknesses, and offer analysis as to why one triumphed on the battlefield while the other failed.

The Fragile Fabric of Union: Cotton, Federal Politics, and the Global Origins of the Civil War

by Brian D. Schoen

From the publisher:
In this fresh study Brian Schoen views the Deep South and its cotton industry from a global perspective, revisiting old assumptions and providing new insights into the region, the political history of the United States, and the causes of the Civil War.

Schoen takes a unique and broad approach. Rather than seeing the Deep South and its planters as isolated from larger intellectual, economic, and political developments, he places the region firmly within them. In doing so, he demonstrates that the region's prominence within the modern world -- and not its opposition to it -- indelibly shaped Southern history.

The place of "King Cotton" in the sectional thinking and budding nationalism of the Lower South seems obvious enough, but Schoen reexamines the ever-shifting landscape of international trade from the 1780s through the eve of the Civil War. He argues that the Southern cotton trade was essential to the European economy, seemingly worth any price for Europeans to protect and maintain, and something to defend aggressively in the halls of Congress. This powerful association gave the Deep South the confidence to ultimately secede from the Union.

By integrating the history of the region with global events, Schoen reveals how white farmers, planters, and merchants created a "Cotton South," preserved its profitability for many years, and ensured its dominance in the international raw cotton markets. The story he tells reveals the opportunities and costs of cotton production for the Lower South and the United States.

"A complex portrayal of southern cotton planters that will revise the way many scholars interpret the political economy of slavery." -- John Majewski, University of California, Santa Barbara

"In this bold new interpretation of the contours of southern political economy between the Constitution and the Civil War, Brian Schoen skillfully embeds U.S. history in its proper international context. The Fragile Fabric of Union marks the impressive debut of an exceptional young historian." -- Peter A. Coclanis, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

"This fascinating and deeply researched book challenges enduring myths about the Cotton South and the roots of the Civil War. From the vantage point of global political economy, it sheds new light on how American slaveholders aggressively pursued commercial power." -- Charles Postel, Bancroft prize--winning author of The Populist Vision

The Bonfire: The Siege and Burning of Atlanta

by Marc Wortman

From the publisher:
An epic narrative account of a pivotal moment in the defeat of the Confederacy: the ruinous siege and destruction of Atlanta.

Marc Wortman is the author of The Millionaires’ Unit: The Aristocratic Flyboys Who Fought the Great War and Invented American Air Power, now in development as a feature film. An award-winning freelance writer, his work has appeared in numerous national magazines. He has taught literature and writing at Princeton University. He lives in New Haven with his wife, daughter, and son.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Problem of Emancipation: The Caribbean Roots of the American Civil War

by Edward Bartlett Rugemer

From the publisher:
While many historians look to internal conflict alone to explain the onset of the American Civil War, in The Problem of Emancipation, Edward Bartlett Rugemer places the origins of the war in a transatlantic context. Addressing a huge gap in the historiography of the antebellum United States, he explores the impact of Britain's abolition of slavery in 1834 on the coming of the war and reveals the strong influence of Britain's old Atlantic empire on the United States' politics. He demonstrates how American slaveholders and abolitionists alike borrowed from the antislavery movement developing on the transatlantic stage to fashion contradictory portrayals of abolition that became central to the arguments for and against American slavery.

In this ground-breaking study, Rugemer examines how southern and northern American newspapers covered three slave rebellions that preceded British abolition-and how American public opinion shifted radically as a result. For example, American slaveholders learned from the Haitian Revolution and a series of West Indian slave rebellions that abolitionist agitation led to insurrection. When American slaves began reacting to antislavery rhetoric, slaveholders feared the Caribbean pattern of agitation and revolt had spread to the United States. In 1822 after the fierce debates over Missouri, several Charleston slaves conspired to seize their city, and in 1831 Nat Turner led a bloody revolt shortly after William Lloyd Garrison published his radical abolitionist newspaper, the Liberator. Turning fear into action, American slaveholders seized and burned the publications that abolitionists sent southward in the mail, and in the North, the partisansof slavery mobbed abolitionist meetings and silenced the discussion of slavery in Congress.

Abolitionists, by contrast, took inspiration from the developments abroad. Leaders such as William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass, Lydia Maria Child, and William Ellery Channing used the West Indian emancipation to help advance their position, and members of John Tyler's presidential administration pushed for the annexation of Texas. Believing that the British achieved emancipation by mobilizing the British people with a robust public relations campaign, many African Americans, often joined by white allies, staged annual celebrations of the First of August, the day the Parliament enacted abolition. The celebrations grew and spread throughout the North, facilitating the emergence of an antislavery constituency that bolstered the Republican Party of Abraham Lincoln in 1860.

Richly researched and skillfully argued, The Problem of Emancipation explores a long-neglected aspect of American slavery and the history of the Atlantic World and bridges a gap in our understanding of the American Civil War.

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

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Boys of Adams' Battery G: The Civil War Through the Eyes of a Union Light Artillery Unit

by Robert Grandchamp

From the publisher:
Raised from Rhode Island farmers and millworkers in the autumn of 1861, the Union soldiers of Battery G fought in such bloody conflicts as Antietam, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Spotsylvania, and Cedar Creek. At the storming of Petersburg on April 2, 1865, seven cannoneers were awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism in the face of the enemy. This history captures the battlefield exploits of the "Boys of Hope" but also depicts camp life, emerging cannon technology, and the social backdrop of the Civil War.

Robert Grandchamp is the author of numerous articles and books about Rhode Island, the Civil War, and the American Revolution. He resides in Warwick, Rhode Island.

The Slaves' War: The Civil War in the Words of Former Slaves

by Andrew Ward

From the publisher:
Groundbreaking, compelling, and poignant, The Slaves' War delivers an unprecedented vision of the nation's bloodiest conflict, as acclaimed historian Andrew Ward gives us the first narrative of the Civil War told from the perspective of those whose destiny it decided.

Andrew Ward is the author of numerous books, most recently the award- winning "Dark Midnight When I Rise: The Story of the Jubilee Singers," He is a former contributing editor at "The Atlantic Monthly," commentator for National Public Radios "All Things Considered," columnist for "The Washington Post," and screenwriter.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Life in the Army of Northern Virginia - 1861-1865

by Carlton McCarthy

From the publisher:
The Civil War comes to life through the eyes of someone who actually lived it.

From the beginning of the American Civil War in 1861, to the days following the surrender at Appomattox in 1865, Carlton McCarthy draws the reader into the world of the common Confederate soldier. With rich and vivid details of the military camps, marches, skirmishes and battles, his personal stories and anecdotes bring to life what it was like to be a soldier in the Army of Northern Virginia during that long brutal war.

As a young man, McCarthy fought with local units before finally enlisting with the 2nd Company, Richmond Howitzer's Artillery Unit in 1864. He captures their day-to-day life, as well as their triumphs and tragedies, with both heart wrenching honesty and with the healthy dose of humor that enabled them all to bear the long years of hardship and deprivation.

It has an accuracy and richness that could only come from a man who was actually there; and when you finish reading, you feel like you were there with him.

"This absorbing and revealing book is an absolute must have for any Civil War buff!"

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Hallam's War (novel)

by Elisabeth Payne Rosen

From the publisher:
An acclaimed, sweeping historical novel set during the Civil War, with one steadfast couple at its core.

It is 1859, and Hugh and Serena Hallam have left Charleston society behind to build a new life for themselves and their three children in the near-wilderness of West Tennessee. War may loom on the horizon, but life at their farm, Palmyra, is good, both for their family and—so they convince themselves— their slaves. Young and idealistic, torn between their ambivalence toward slavery and their love of the land, they keep hope that goodwill might yet prevail against the growing hostility dividing the two Americas. But soon, events will move the Hallams' entire world toward destruction, sweeping Hugh into battle while stranding Serena at a besieged Palmyra. Their values will be tested on the battlefield and at home and in the end only their passionate and enduring love for one another will sustain them as they face the war that transforms a nation.

Rosen, a deacon in the Episcopal church and a hospital chaplain, delivers an auspicious debut set during the Civil War ... Civil War buffs in particular will welcome this thoughtful historical novel. - Publishers Weekly

This is the first paperback edition of a previously published hardback.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Lincoln Uber Alles: Dictatorship Comes to America

John Avery Emison

From the publisher:
In his provocative book, John Avery Emison sets the record straight on the legality of Southern secession. He laments the unnecessary loss of 620,000 lives, the burning of cities, and mass devastation to the South, wreaked between the years of 1861 and 1865, by the North. A close examination of the true causes of the Civil War reveals the fight was not one for racial justice, but rather a battle over the economic disparities between the North and the South. By illustrating how Abraham Lincoln's tyrannical presidency paved the way for today's bloated "Leviathan" government, Emison brings his subject into the twenty-first century and puts forth his fear for the future.

Contrary to contemporary assumptions, secession was--and still is--within the rights of all states. The concept of sovereignty grants such powers to the states, not the federal government. Emison explains the list of violations that Lincoln committed in an effort to prevent the South's peaceful exit from the Union. These atrocious actions include the blockading of ports, arresting innocent citizens, suspending habeas corpus, suppressing newspapers, and, most notably, ordering a gruesome war without consent from Congress.

While presenting a historical backdrop, the author credits the events and political figures that contributed to Lincoln's election. He references significant Supreme Court doctrines and delves into the depths of the U.S. Constitution. Emison's arguments are backed by the expert analysis of notable legal historians, such as Kenneth Stampp and Carl Wittke.

Behind the Scenes

by Elizabeth Keckley

From the publisher:
Born into slavery, Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley (ca. 1824-1907) rose to a position of respect as a talented dressmaker and designer to the political elite of Washington, D.C., and a confidante of First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln. In this unusual memoir, Keckley offers a rare, behind-the-scenes view of the formal and informal networks that African Americans established among themselves, as well as an insider's perspective of the men who made Civil War politics and the women who influenced them.

Keckley's descriptions of the Lincolns at home reveal touching, unguarded moments of laughter, discussion, and affection. She witnessed the grief of both parents at the death of their son Willie and Mary Todd's prostration after the president's assassination. In dire financial straits, Mary Todd turned to Keckley, who spent several months in New York helping the former First Lady sell her elegant clothing.

President of the Contraband Relief Association and a friend of Frederick Douglass and other prominent African-American leaders, Keckley emerges as a remarkable, resourceful, and principled woman who helped mediate between black and white communities. Frances Smith Foster's introduction traces the book's reception history and fills in biographical gaps in the text.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Why Confederates Fought

Aaron Sheehan-Dean

From the publisher:
In the first comprehensive study of the experience of Virginia soldiers and their families in the Civil War, Aaron Sheehan-Dean captures the inner world of the rank-and-file. He challenges earlier arguments that middle- and lower-class southerners gradually withdrew their support for the Confederacy because their class interests were not being met. Instead he argues that Virginia soldiers continued to be motivated by the profound emotional connection between military service and the protection of home and family, even as the war dragged on.

Aaron Sheehan-Dean is assistant professor of history at the University of North Florida. He is editor of Struggle for a Vast Future: The American Civil War and The View from the Ground: The Experience of Civil War Soldiers.