Remembering Tony Horwitz »

Some sad news – author Tony Horwitz has died. I read his Confederates in the Attic over 20 years ago, and was taken both with his humourous writing and his focus on the war’s lingering effects on America. I had actually earmarked a review of his new book the other day, with the intention of […]

Impeachment, the First Time Around »

There’s a new book about Andrew Johnson and his impeachment, and the New York Times has given it a rave review. I’ll have to pick it up, but I might wait to see how the current Constitutional crisis shakes out first. I’m not sure it’ll make for consolatory reading. By February 1868, President Andrew Johnson […]

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 […]

The Slave Bible at Museum of the Bible »

I can’t say that Washington DC’s Museum of the Bible is a museum I’d have given much thought to visiting, but through September, they’re hosting an exhibition on the Slave Bible. It’s a fascinating piece of history, and worth checking out if you’re in town. The Slave Bible, as it would become known, is a […]

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 […]

Marszalek in NYC »

Are any of my readers from the Big Apple? If so, I wish to live vicariously through you this week, when John Marszalek is visiting and presenting at two separate events. Marszalek is the author of the wonderful Sherman biography, as well as books on Halleck, Grant and Lincoln. I’ve heard him speak at iTunes […]

Tony Kushner and Sarah Vowell »

Kudos to Andrea Simakis for providing this very extensive recounting of a recent talk by two unusual Lincoln biographers: The Lincoln screenwriter Tony Kushner, and the hipster historian Sarah Vowell, author of the hilarious and weird, Assassination Vacation. I’m hoping to find some video from this event, but if that fails at least I have […]

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 […]