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Michael Gorra asks provocative questions in this historic portrait of William Faulkner and his world. He explores whether William Faulkner should still be read in this new century and asks what his works tell us about the legacy of slavery and the American Civil War, the central quarrel in America's history. Born in 1897 in Mississippi, Faulkner wrote such iconic novels as Absalom, Absalom! and The Sound and the Fury, creating in Yoknapatawpha County the richest gallery of characters in American fiction, his achievements culminating in the 1949 Nobel Prize in Literature. But given his works' echo of "Lost Cause" romanticism, his depiction of black characters and black speech, and his rendering of race relations in a largely unreconstructed South, Faulkner demands a sobering reevaluation. Interweaving biography, absorbing literary criticism and rich travelogue, The Saddest Words recontextualises Faulkner, revealing a civil war within him, while examining the most plangent cultural issues facing American literature today.
At the outbreak of the Civil War, North and South quickly saw the need to develop the latest technology in naval warfare, the ironclad ship. After a year-long scramble to finish first, in a race filled with intrigue and second guessing, blundering and genius, the two ships -- the Monitor and the Merrimack -- after a four-hour battle, ended the three-thousand-year tradition of wooden men-of-war and ushered in "the reign of iron."
In the first major work on the subject in thirty-five years, novelist, historian, and tall-ship sailor James L. Nelson, acclaimed author of the Brethren of the Coast trilogy, brilliantly recounts the story of these magnificent ships, the men who built and fought them, and the extraordinary battle that made them legend.
In the seventy-three succinct essays gathered in The Enduring Civil War, celebrated historian Gary W. Gallagher highlights the complexity and richness of the war, from its origins to its memory, as topics for study, contemplation, and dispute. He places contemporary understanding of the Civil War, both academic and general, in conversation with testimony from those in the Union and the Confederacy who experienced and described it, investigating how mid-nineteenth-century perceptions align with, or deviate from, current ideas regarding the origins, conduct, and aftermath of the war. The tension between history and memory forms a theme throughout the essays, underscoring how later perceptions about the war often took precedence over historical reality in the minds of many Americans. The array of topics Gallagher addresses is striking. He examines notable books and authors, both Union and Confederate, military and civilian, famous and lesser known. He discusses historians who, though their names have receded with time, produced works that remain pertinent in terms of analysis or information. He comments on conventional interpretations of events and personalities, challenging, among other things, commonly held notions about Gettysburg and Vicksburg as decisive turning points, Ulysses S. Grant as a general who profligately wasted Union manpower, the Gettysburg Address as a watershed that turned the war from a fight for Union into one for Union and emancipation, and Robert E. Lee as an old-fashioned general ill-suited to waging a modern mid-nineteenth-century war. Gallagher interrogates recent scholarly trends on the evolving nature of Civil War studies, addressing crucial questions about chronology, history, memory, and the new revisionist literature. The format of this provocative and timely collection lends itself to sampling, and readers might start in any of the subject groupings and go where their interests take them.
In this engrossing work of history, Lee Kennett brilliantly brings General Sherman's 1864 invasion of Georgia to life by capturing the ground-level experiences of the soldiers and civilians who witnesses the bloody campaign. From the skirmish at Buzzard Roost Gap all the way to Savannah ten months later, Kennet follows the notorious, complex Sherman, who attacked the devastated the heart of the Confederacy's arsenal. Marching Through Georgia describes, in gripping detail, the event that marked the end of the Old South.
Lee's Lieutenants: A Study in Command is the most colorful and popular of Douglas Southall Freeman's works. A sweeping narrative that presents a multiple biography against the flame-shot background of the American Civil War, it is the story of the great figures of the Army of Northern Virginia who fought under Robert E. Lee.
The Confederacy won resounding victories throughout the war, but seldom easily or without tremendous casualties. Death was always on the heels of fame, but the men who commanded -- among them Jackson, Longstreet, and Ewell -- developed as leaders and men. Lee's Lieutenants follows these men to the costly battle at Gettysburg, through the deepening twilight of the South's declining military might, and finally to the collapse of Lee's command and his formal surrender in 1865. To his unparalleled descriptions of men and operations, Dr. Freeman adds an insightful analysis of the lessons learned and their bearing upon the future military development of the nation. Accessible at last in a one-volume edition abridged by noted Civil War historian Stephen W. Sears, Lee's Lieutenants is essential reading for all Civil War buffs, students of war, and admirers of the historian's art as practiced at its very highest level.
This work talks about the last days of the Civil War in the East. Even after Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox, the Civil War continued to be fought, and surrenders negotiated, on different fronts. The most notable of these occurred at Bennett Place, near Durham, North Carolina, when Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston surrendered the Army of Tennessee to Union General William T. Sherman. In this first full-length examination of the end of the war in North Carolina, Mark L. Bradley depicts the action as it was experienced by the troops and the civilians in their path.
The American North's commitment to preventing a southern secession rooted in slaveholding suggests a society united in its opposition to slavery and racial inequality. The reality, however, was far more complex and troubling. In his latest book, Paul Escott lays bare the contrast between progress on emancipation and the persistence of white supremacy in the Civil War North. Escott analyzes northern politics, as well as the racial attitudes revealed in the era's literature, to expose the nearly ubiquitous racism that flourished in all of American society and culture. Contradicting much recent scholarship, Escott argues that the North's Democratic Party was consciously and avowedly "the white man's party," as an extensive examination of Democratic newspapers, as well as congressional debates and other speeches by Democratic leaders, proves. The Republican Party, meanwhile, defended emancipation as a war measure but did little to attack racism or fight for equal rights. Most Republicans propagated a message that emancipation would not disturb northern race relations or the interests of northern white voters: freed slaves, it was felt, would either leave the nation or remain in the South as subordinate laborers. Escott's book uncovers the substantial and destructive racism that lay beyond the South's borders. Despite emancipation representing enormous progress, racism flourished in the North, and assumptions of white supremacy remained powerful and nearly ubiquitous throughout America.
On the day Fort Sumter surrendered to Confederate authorities, General Braxton Bragg reacted to a newspaper report that might have revealed the position of gun emplacements by placing the correspondent, a Southern loyalist, under arrest. Thus the Confederate army's first detention of a citizen occurred before President Lincoln had even called out troops to suppress the rebellion. During the civil war that followed, not a day would pass when Confederate military prisons did not contain political prisoners.
Based on the discovery of records of over four thousand of these prisoners, Mark E. Neely Jr.'s new book undermines the common understanding that Jefferson Davis and the Confederates were scrupulous in their respect for constitutional rights while Lincoln and the Unionists regularly violated the rights of dissenters. Neely reveals for the first time the extent of repression of Unionists and other civilians in the Confederacy, and uncovers and marshals convincing evidence that Southerners were as ready as their Northern counterparts to give up civil liberties in response to the real or imagined threats of wartime.
From the onset of hostilities, the exploits of drunken recruits prompted communities from Selma to Lynchburg to beg the Richmond government to impose martial law. Southern citizens resigned themselves to a passport system for domestic travel similar to the system of passes imposed on enslaved and free blacks before the war. These restrictive measures made commerce difficult and constrained religious activity. As one Virginian complained, "This struggle was begun in defence of Constitutional Liberty which we could not get in the United States." The Davis administration countered that the passport system was essential to prevent desertion from the army, and most Southerners accepted the passports as a necessary inconvenience, ignoring the irony that the necessities of national mobilization had changed their government from a states'-rights confederacy to a powerful, centralized authority.
After the war the records of men imprisoned by this authority were lost through a combination of happenstance and deliberate obfuscation. Their discovery and subtle interpretation by a Pulitzer Prize&emdash;winning historian explodes one of the remaining myths of Lost Cause historiography, revealing Jefferson Davis as a calculated manipulator of the symbols of liberty.
The Lost Cause ideology that emerged after the Civil War and flourished in the early twentieth century sought to recast a struggle to perpetuate a slaveholding culture as a heroic defense of the South. As Adam Domby reveals in his new book, this was not only an insidious goal; it was founded on falsehoods. The False Cause focuses on North Carolina to examine the role of lies and exaggeration in the creation of the Lost Cause narrative. In the process the book shows how these lies have long obscured the past and been used to buttress white supremacy in ways that resonate to this day. Domby explores how fabricated narratives about the war's cause, Reconstruction, and slavery-as expounded at monument dedications and political rallies-were crucial to Jim Crow. He questions the persistent myth of the Confederacy as one of history's greatest armies, revealing a convenient disregard of deserters, dissent, and Unionism, and exposes how pension fraud facilitated a myth of unwavering support of the Confederacy among nearly all white Southerners. Domby shows how the dubious concept of "black Confederates" was spun from a small number of elderly and indigent African American North Carolinians who got pensions by presenting themselves as "loyal slaves." The book concludes with a penetrating examination of how the Lost Cause narrative and the lies on which it is based continue to haunt the country today and still work to maintain racial inequality.
Stephen B. Oates discerns the historical truth from the mythical legend that surrounds Lincoln in this original and fascinating portrait of America's 16th president.
Prepare to embark on a global tour through time. You might want to take a map... But this is no ordinary atlas. The maps in History Atlas are rich visual extravaganzas, packed with kings, queens, heroes, villains, inventors, artists and explorers. Travel from Ancient Egypt and Rome to Ethiopia, Russia and China, and meet movers and shakers of world history from Genghis Khan to Martin Luther King. With quirky facts, astonishing characters, humorous details and compelling stories, this is history at its most entertaining.
Worthy Opponents tells the parallel stories of Confederate general Joseph E. Johnston and Union general William Tecumseh Sherman. Their armies clashed repeatedly, so it was only natural for these two commanding offers to become adversaries. Yet, as the war continued, Johnston and Sherman came to respect each other, eventually becoming close friends. Edward G. Longacre masterfully investigates the entwined lives of these two celebrated generals, bringing to life their personalities, their military styles, and their friendship in this fascinating dual biography.
The final year of the Civil War witnessed a profound transformation in the practice of modern warfare, a shift that produced unprecedented consequences for the soldiers fighting on the front lines. In The Army of the Potomac in the Overland and Petersburg Campaigns, Steven E. Sodergren examines the transition to trench warfare, the lengthy campaigns of attrition that resulted, and how these seemingly grim new realities affected the mindset and morale of Union soldiers. The 1864 Overland Campaign created tremendous physical and emotional suffering for the men of the Army of the Potomac as they faced a remarkable increase in the level and frequency of combat. By the end of this critical series of battles, surviving Union soldiers began to express considerable doubt in their cause and their leaders, as evidenced by widespread demoralization and the rising number of men deserting and disobeying orders. Yet, while the Petersburg campaign that followed further exposed the Army of the Potomac to the horrors of trench warfare, it proved both physically and psychologically regenerative. Comprehending that the extensive fortification network surrounding them benefitted their survival, soldiers quickly adjusted to life in the trenches despite the harsh conditions. The army's static position allowed the Union logistical structure to supply the front lines with much-needed resources like food and mail- even a few luxuries. The elevated morale that resulted, combined with the reelection of Abraham Lincoln in November 1864 and the increasing number of deserters from the Confederate lines, only confirmed the growing belief among the soldiers in the trenches that Union victory was inevitable. Taken together, these aspects of the Petersburg experience mitigated the negative effects of trench warfare and allowed men to adapt more easily to their new world of combat. Sodergren explores the many factors that enabled the Army of the Potomac to endure the brutal physical conditions of trench warfare and emerge with a renewed sense of purpose as fighting resumed on the open battlefield in 1865. Drawing from soldiers' letters and diaries, official military correspondence, and court-martial records, he paints a vivid picture of the daily lives of Union soldiers as they witnessed the beginnings of a profound shift in the way the world imagined and waged large-scale warfare.
Historians of the Civil War often speak of "wars within a war--the military fight, wartime struggles on the home front, and the political and moral battle to preserve the Union and end slavery. In this broadly conceived book, Thavolia Glymph provides a comprehensive new history of women's roles and lives in the Civil War--North and South, white and black, slave and free--showing how women were essentially and fully engaged in all three arenas. Glymph focuses on the ideas and ideologies that drove women's actions, allegiances, and politics. We encounter women as they stood their ground, moved into each other's territory, sought and found common ground, and fought for vastly different principles. Some women used all the tools and powers they could muster to prevent the radical transformations the war increasingly imposed, some fought with equal might for the same transformations, and other women fought simply to keep the war at bay as they waited for their husbands and sons to return home. Glymph shows how the Civil War exposed as never before the nation's fault lines, not just along race and class lines but also along the ragged boundaries of gender. However, Glymph makes clear that women's experiences were not new to the mid-nineteenth century; rather, many of them drew on memories of previous conflicts, like the American Revolution and the War of 1812, to make sense of the Civil War's disorder and death.
Charles Dew's Apostles of Disunion has established itself as a modern classic and an indispensable account of the Southern states' secession from the Union. Addressing topics still hotly debated among historians and the public at large more than a century and a half after the Civil War, the book offers a compelling and clearly substantiated argument that slavery and race were at the heart of our great national crisis. The fifteen years since the original publication of Apostles of Disunion have seen an intensification of debates surrounding the Confederate flag and Civil War monuments. In a powerful new afterword to this anniversary edition, Dew situates the book in relation to these recent controversies and factors in the role of vast financial interests tied to the internal slave trade in pushing Virginia and other upper South states toward secession and war.
Historians have long viewed President John Tyler as one of the nation's least effective heads of state. In President without a Party- the first fullA -scale biography of Tyler in more than fifty years and the first new academic study of him in eight decades- Christopher J. Leahy explores the life of the tenth chief executive of the United States. Born in the Virginia Tidewater into an elite family sympathetic to the ideals of the American Revolution, Tyler, like his father, worked as an attorney before entering politics. Leahy uses a wealth of primary source materials to chart Tyler's early political path, from his election to the Virginia legislature in 1811, through his stints as a congressman and senator, to his viceA -presidential nomination on the Whig ticket for the campaign of 1840. When William Henry Harrison died unexpectedly a mere month after assuming the presidency, Tyler became the first vice president to become president because of the death of the incumbent. Leahy traces Tyler's ascent to the highest office in the land and unpacks the fraught dynamics between Tyler and his fellow Whigs, who ultimately banished the beleaguered president from their ranks and stymied his election bid three years later. Leahy also examines the president's personal life, especially his relationships with his wives and children. In the end, Leahy suggests, politics fulfilled Tyler the most, often to the detriment of his family. Such was true even after his presidency, when Virginians elected him to the Confederate Congress in 1861, and northerners and Unionists branded him a ""traitor president."" The most complete accounting of Tyler's life and career, Leahy's biography makes an original contribution to the fields of politics, family life, and slavery in the antebellum South. Moving beyond the standard, often shortsighted studies that describe Tyler as simply a defender of the Old South's dominant ideology of states' rights and strict construction of the Constitution, Leahy offers a nuanced portrayal of a president who favored a middle-A of-A theA -road, bipartisan approach to the nation's problems. This strategy did not make Tyler popular with either the Whigs or the opposition Democrats while he was in office, or with historians and biographers ever since. Moreover, his most significant achievement as president- the annexation of Texas- exacerbated sectional tensions and put the United States on the road to civil war.
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