Category: Books

Courting Mr. Lincoln »

I gave up on fiction a few years ago, but I’m curious about this new book. Lincoln’s live-in friendship with Joshua Speed is a topic I find endearing, and a great novelist can often make fiction feel like real history. (See also: Gore Vidal’s Lincoln.) Abraham Lincoln is irresistible to writers. Historians have delved into […]

David Blight on Frederick Douglass »

David Blight’s voice has become very familiar to me – I listened to his entire Yale iTunes U course on the Civil War, and have sought out his podcast appearances since then. This is the first time I’ve seen him speak, and this brief clip from a 2009 interview beautifully summarises Douglass’ life. By all […]

Political Violence »

Mother Jones interviews Joanne Freeman, author of The Field of Blood, examining physical violence in Congress in the run-up to the Civil War. If the book is as fun as the interview, it promises to be a rollicking read! That’s a great example both of the performative aspect of it and the ways in which it’s […]

A Few of My Favourite Things »

I responded to a Reddit user’s call for Civil War book suggestions, and it occurred to me that – in this time of gift buying and giving – I could cross post my list here. In no particular order, I give you: * Drew Gilpin Faust’s This Republic of Suffering deals with the mass death […]

American Ulysses »

There’s a new Grant biography for us all to enjoy. American Ulysses: A Life of Ulysses S. Grant is here reviewed very favourably by the Chicago Tribune. Given the fuss and fury of this year’s election campaign, it might be nice to spend 850 pages immersed in the company of a genuinely nice man. (Though […]

Weekly Recap: Feb 17 »

Here’s a recap of last week’s Civil War Podcast blog topics, and suggested readings for further study. Post: How cotton remade the world The epic story of the rise and fall of the empire of cotton, its centrality to the world economy, and its making and remaking of global capitalism. Post: The Atlantic slave trade […]

Book review: Marching Home »

A new book deals with a subject I’ve been musing on lately: The effects of the war on the social life of postbellum America.  Millions of men coming home – some with severe physical and emotional scars – to a world that was profoundly changed.  This one sounds like a good read. Jordan’s handling of civilian […]

Weekly Recap: Feb 3 »

Weekly Recap: Feb 3 Here’s a recap of last week’s Civil War Podcast blog topics, and suggested readings for further study. Post: When the South Wasn’t a Fan of States’ Rights In late 1860 and early 1861, state-appointed commissioners traveled the length and breadth of the slave South carrying a fervent message in pursuit of […]

Weekly Recap: Jan 27 »

Weekly Recap: Jan 27 Here’s a recap of last week’s Civil War Podcast blog topics, and suggested readings for further study.   Post: Southern Unionist Strongholds The State of Jones The State of Jones is a true story about the South during the Civil War—the real South. Not the South that has been mythologized in […]

Weekly Recap: Jan 20 »

Weekly Recap: Jan 20 Here’s a recap of last week’s Civil War Podcast blog topics, and suggested readings for further study. Post: Whipping Man God’s Almost Chosen Peoples: A Religious History of the American Civil War (Littlefield History of the Civil War Era) Throughout the Civil War, soldiers and civilians on both sides of the […]