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 5/16/2012

SCARBOROUGH: The Allstons of Chicora Wood (2011)

By: Alex Macaulay Category: Book Reviews

The Allstons of Chicora Wood is an interesting and frustrating book. What began as a standard biography of antebellum South Carolina governor and rice planter Robert F.W. Allston, evolved over the course of the author's research into a broader study of the Allston family...

Published 5/9/2012

LAUSE: A Secret Society History of the Civil War (2011)

By: Matt Gallman Category: Book Reviews

Reviewers are not supposed to take authors to task for "not writing a different book" (although we do it all the time), but it might be fair to critique a monograph for not having a different title. Reader beware. This is not a history of secret societies during the Civil War...

Published 5/2/2012

MILLER: John Bell Hood (2010)

By: James Marten Category: Book Reviews

Brian Craig Miller argues that considering Hood through the lenses of manhood and memory--he calls his book a "cultural biography"--offers a fresh perspective on a Confederate who could have starred in a Greek tragedy...

Published 5/2/2012


By: William Feis Category: Book Reviews

This book is an excellent, well-written analysis that will become the standard biography of Champ Ferguson and will also be essential reading for those seeking insights into the motivations of borderland guerrillas...

Published 4/25/2012

FOLLETT, FONER, JOHNSON (eds.): Slavery's Ghost (2011)

By: Joshua D. Rothman Category: Book Reviews

A brief but thought-provoking collection of essays that brings together lectures delivered at the University of Sussex's Marcus Cunliffe Centre for the Study of the American South, Slavery's Ghost is framed by several persistent and important considerations in the historiography of slavery and emancipation.

Published 4/25/2012

LOEWEN & SEBESTA (eds.): The Confederate and Neo-Confederate Reader (2010)

By: Jon D. Bohland Category: Book Reviews

The book provides teachers and researchers alike with an invaluable archive of speeches, images, political papers, and memoirs that graphically reveal what the Confederacy and its post-war nostalgists actually believed about slavery, secession, race relations, and the whitewashing of the southern past.

Published 4/18/2012

DELBLANCO: The Abolitionist Imagination (2012)

By: Michael Fellman Category: Book Reviews

Delbanco's stereotyping and judgmental essay strikes me as a demonstration of how old-fashioned liberalism can be turned into what amounts to morally-determined, preachy neo-conservatism, whether intentionally or not. I share Sinha's reaction that this is a condescending argument, written down from the Arcadian coolness of Morningside Heights...

Published 4/18/2012

BARNHART: Albert Taylor Bledsoe (2011)

By: Benjamin Cloyd Category: Book Reviews

Despite the limited material available, Barnhart has made a worthy and instructive effort to explore the significance of the man who became the architect of the Confederate interpretation of the conflict?...

Published 4/11/2012

LOWRY: Drinking Patterns in the Civil War (2011)

By: Sean Vanatta Category: Book Reviews

Lowry's short, idiosyncratic text is premised on a central question: Did ethnic German and Irish soldiers exhibit abnormal drinking patterns when compared to average "American" troops?

Published 4/4/2012

GALLMAN (ed.): A Tour of Reconstruction (2011)

By: Amy Murrell Taylor Category: Book Reviews

Gallman has made an important contribution by pulling Dickinson's letters out of the archives?deciphering her difficult handwriting in the process?and making them more widely accessible. Her writing about Reconstruction can now join the ranks of other published travel writers of the period, such as Sidney Andrews and J.T. Trowbridge, while inserting a powerful female voice among them...