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U.S. History

A Family and Nation Under Fire

| Filed under: Civil War in the North, Military History, Recent Releases, U.S. History, Understanding Civil War History
Baldino cover

This collection of previously unpublished diaries and correspondence between Maj. William Medill and older brother Joseph, one of the influential owners of the Chicago Tribune, illuminates the Republican politics of the Civil War era. The brothers correct newspaper coverage of the war, disagree with official military reports, and often condemn Lincoln administration policies. When shots were fired at Fort Sumter, the Medills mobilized, unaware how their courage would be tested in the coming years.

 


Gettysburg’s Other Battle

| Filed under: Recent Releases, U.S. History
Gettysburg's Other Battle, Mark A. Snell. Kent State University Press

Gettysburg is known as the second bloodiest battle of the 19th century and as the site of Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 speech that gave new meaning to America’s Civil War. By the turn of the next century, the battlefield was enshrined as a national park under the jurisdiction of the War Department. In 1913, graying veterans commemorated the fiftieth anniversary of the momentous battle, dubbed the “Peace Jubilee,” a unity celebration largely administered by the U.S. Army. Four years later, the Army returned to establish a Regular Army infantry- training cantonment on the battlefield. The Tank Corps took over in 1918, and the area was dubbed “Camp Colt.”

 


Penitentiaries, Punishment, and Military Prisons

| Filed under: Civil War Era, Justice Studies, Recent Releases, U.S. History, Understanding Civil War History
Zombeck

Penitentiaries, Punishment, and Military Prisons confronts the enduring claim that Civil War military prisons represented an apocalyptic and ahistorical rupture in America’s otherwise linear and progressive carceral history. Instead, it places the war years in the broader context of imprisonment in 19th-century America and contends that officers in charge of military prisons drew on administrative and punitive practices that existed in antebellum and wartime civilian penitentiaries to manage the war’s crisis of imprisonment. Union and Confederate officials outlined rules for military prisons, instituted punishments, implemented prison labor, and organized prisoners of war, both civilian and military, in much the same way as peacetime penitentiary officials had done, leading journalists to refer to many military prisons as “penitentiaries.”

 


“The Most Complete Political Machine Ever Known”

| Filed under: Civil War Era, Civil War in the North, Recent Releases, U.S. History, Understanding Civil War History
Taylor Cover

In “The Most Complete Political Machine Ever Known,” Paul Taylor examines the Union League movement. Often portrayed as a mere footnote to the Civil War, the Union League’s influence on the Northern home front was far more important and consequential than previously considered. The Union League and its various offshoots spread rapidly across the North, and in this first comprehensive examination of the leagues, Taylor discusses what made them so effective, including their recruitment strategies, their use of ostracism as a way of stifling dissent, and their distribution of political propaganda in quantities unlike anything previously imagined. By the end of 1863, readers learn, it seemed as if every hamlet from Maine to California had formed its own league chapter, collectively overwhelming their Democratic foe in the 1864 presidential election.

 


Crossing the Deadlines

| Filed under: Civil War Era, History, Recent Releases, U.S. History, Understanding Civil War History
Crossing the Deadlines edited by Michael P. Gray

The “deadlines” were boundaries prisoners had to stay within or risk being shot. Just as a prisoner would take the daring challenge in “crossing the deadline” to attempt escape, Crossing the Deadlines crosses those boundaries of old scholarship by taking on bold initiatives with new methodologies, filling a void in the current scholarship of Civil War prison historiography, which usually does not go beyond discussing policy, prison history and environmental and social themes. Due to its eclectic mix of contributors—from academic and public historians to anthropologists currently excavating at specific stockade sites—the collection appeals to a variety of scholarly and popular audiences. Readers will discover how the Civil War incarceration narrative has advanced to include environmental, cultural, social, religious, retaliatory, racial, archaeological, and memory approaches.

 


Interpreting American History: The New South

| Filed under: Interpreting American History, Recent Releases, U.S. History
Humphreys Cover

The concept of the “New South” has elicited fierce debate among historians since the mid-twentieth century. At the heart of the argument is the question of whether the post–Civil War South transformed itself into something genuinely new or simply held firm to patterns of life established before 1861. The South did change in significant ways after the Civil War ended, but many of its enduring trademarks, the most prominent being white supremacy, remained constant well into the twentieth century. Scholars have yet to meet the vexing challenge of proving or disproving the existence of a New South. Even in the twenty-first century, amid the South’s sprawling cities, expanding suburbia, and high-tech environment, vestiges of the Old South remain.

 


Phantoms of the South Fork

| Filed under: Civil War Era, Civil War Soldiers and Strategies, History, Military History, Recent Releases, U.S. History, Understanding Civil War History
French cover

At 3 a.m. on February 21, 1865, a band of 65 Confederate horsemen slowly made its way down Greene Street in Cumberland, Maryland. Thinking the riders were disguised Union scouts, the few Union soldiers out that bitterly cold morning paid little attention to them. In the meantime, over 3,500 Yankee soldiers peacefully slept.

 


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