The Lumpkin Daughters »

While not strictly Civil War related, this book – reviewed here in the NY Times – shows the legacy of at least one die-hard secessionist upon his daughters. This sounds like a fascinating family history. These are just snapshots of a densely braided biography spanning eight decades, not counting the Lumpkins’ forebears and the rediscovery […]

Book Review: The Impeachers »

As they watch modern day Washington with a wary eye, Impeachment proponents can find some aspirational reading in a new book about Andrew Johnson’s proceedings. The Guardian reviews it here. Implicit or not, parallels abound with current American life. Johnson’s “Swing Around the Circle” railroad trip featured rallies at which his language was (at best) […]

Armies of Deliverance »

A glowing review for a new Civil War book, Armies of Deliverance, by Elizabeth Varon. I usually avoid quoting last paragraphs of the articles I link, but this is quite the parting comment by the reviewer. While Varon doesn’t quite deliver on her argument about deliverance, she narrates battles and campaigns with an unusually deft, […]

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 […]