The Bookshelf

The digital home of book reviews and author interviews—and your source of the most up-to-date information on all things Civil War literature

Published 10/19/2011

BYNUM: The Long Shadow of the Civil War (2010)

By: Laura Hepp Bradshaw Category: Book Reviews

“Few histories,” Victoria Bynum laments, “are buried faster or deeper than those of political or social dissenters” (148). By resurrecting the histories of three anti-secessionist communities in the South, Bynum’s latest book about the Civil War home front and its checkered aftermath bring previously ignored strains of political and social dissent back to life through an intricate examination of...

Published 10/19/2011

WOOD: Near Andersonville (2010)

By: Robert Bonner Category: Book Reviews

Peter Wood’s incisive new book asks us to set aside imagery of battles and soldiers, and even “Honest Abe,” so that we might visualize the world captured by the painter Winslow Homer in his long-forgotten masterpiece “Near Andersonville.”

Published 10/12/2011

MARTEN: Sing Not War (2011)

By: Brian M. Jordan Category: Book Reviews

More so than any previous historian, Marten sheds light on several important questions: how did veterans live, and how were they perceived by society? Sing Not War has given admirable shape and definition to an anemic subfield of Civil War history, and as such it is a welcome addition to the literature. Future studies of the war’s consequences must contend with the important questions that James ...

Published 10/12/2011

MCCURRY: Confederate Reckoning (2010)

By: David K. Thomson Category: Book Reviews

Confederate Reckoning’s sharp narrative and fresh analysis of the odds faced by slaveholders in the Confederacy and their contributions to its internal collapse is both timely and justified as historians try to reassess key issues of race and gender, such as the roles of southern women and slaves, in relation to the war. McCurry has opened the door for future scholarship and has further cemented...

Published 10/5/2011

BERRY (ed.): Weirding the War: Stories from the Civil War's Ragged Edges (2011)

By: W. Fitzhugh Brundage Category: Book Reviews

The essays themselves explore nooks and crevices of Civil War history that are always interesting, sometimes poignant, and often revelatory. Berry’s introduction is especially cogent about the thread that runs through the collection: the “littleness” of the war. Almost certainly this view of the conflict is rooted in the experience of contemporary Americans with war. We have a half century of...

Published 9/28/2011

GOODHEART: 1861: The Civil War Awakening (2011)

By: A. Wilson Greene Category: Book Reviews

Adam Goodheart�s much heralded 1861: The Civil War Awakening is an eloquent, innovative, and deeply researched collection of chapter-length vignettes that surveys a variety of events at the outset of our national bloodletting...

Published 9/28/2011

GALLAGHER: The Union War (2011)

By: Nicole Etcheson Category: Book Reviews

Ken Burns�s Civil War series made famous Rhode Island soldier Elisha Hunt Rhodes�s phrase, �All for the Union.� Gary W. Gallagher agrees with Rhodes. Gallagher emphasizes that, for northerners, the war was one for Union. Although he welcomes the flood of literature that has emphasized the importance of race, slavery, and emancipation to the Civil War, Gallagher believes that this focus has...

Published 9/16/2011

A few words on The Bookshelf

By: Matthew C. Hulbert Category: The Bookshelf

Greetings and welcome to the official digital headquarters of book reviews for The Civil War Monitor. In much the same way that printed editions of the Monitor will attempt to bridge the unfortunate chasm that still divides many professional scholars from broader historical audiences, this space, harnessing the infinite reach of the Internet, will attempt to charge that goal head on...

Published 9/16/2011

BERTERA & CRAWFORD: The 4th Michigan Infantry in the Civil War (2010)

By: Kevin Krause Category: Book Reviews

Since the turn towards social and cultural history in the 1960s and 1970s, many academic institutions have relegated military history to the virtual back burner of �serious� scholarly endeavors. Military histories have, however, remained popular with general readers, and have recently regained scholarly credibility within academia. One reason for this has been a shift of focus from strategies....

Published 9/16/2011

WARSCHAUER: Connecticut in the American Civil War: Slavery, Sacrifice, and Survival (2011)

By: Peter C. Luebke Category: Book Reviews

The Civil War Centennial saw the publication of histories of state participation in the Civil War. Now, with the approach of the sesquicentennial, it appears as if a new batch of histories building upon the last 50 years of scholarship is on the way. Matthew Warshauer's Connecticut in the American Civil War: Slavery, Sacrifice, and Survival serves as a model of what a state-level survey of the ...