03/27/2013 09:23 AM
BATON ROUGE – The Civil War Book Review, or CWBR, a quarterly journal published by
the LSU Libraries’ Special Collections Division, has released its winter 2013 issue
Since the smoke cleared from battlefields across the United States and the guns of
the Civil War’s combatants fell silent, Americans began their timeless endeavor to
understand what they had endured. This now 150-year-old struggle to understand the
complexity of the war and its causes guarantees that, as the generations pass, they
will remain in good hands.
Civil War scholarship has evolved constantly since the war and continues to do so
in fascinating and insightful ways, hinting that continued research and interest in
this topic will continue to yield ripe fruit.
The winter 2013 issue of CWBR is the last for Nathan Buman as editor.
“The conversation will continue and well-qualified hands will lend their guidance
in the issues to come,” Buman said. “Michael Frawley, who conducted the interview
in this issue, will take over as editor, and I do not doubt that he will prove more
than capable of this task.”
In this the winter issue, CWBR features several books that provide nuanced ways of
examining the Civil War and this cutting edge scholarship helps to guide the next
generation to a better understanding of its past. Christopher Childers, a former editor
of CWBR himself, has written an excellent work that examines the concept of popular
sovereignty and the ways in which it challenged Americans prior to the Civil War as
they sought to combat the mounting sectional crisis. “The Failure of Popular Sovereignty:
Slavery, Manifest Destiny, and the Radicalization of Southern Politics” will undoubtedly
prove a useful text for many years to come. Gary W. Gallagher and Rachael A. Shelden
have compiled and edited a vital collection of essays that explore other political
questions. “A Political Nation: New Directions in Mid-19th-Century American Political
History” proves the continued viability of political history and its contents will
appeal to a varied range of scholars.
James M. McPherson has provided a comprehensive analysis of naval operations during
the Civil War in “War on the Waters: The Union & Confederate Navies, 1861-1865.” McPherson’s
contribution will surely stand tall for many years to come and contribute a great
deal to the conversation about naval warfare. Megan Kate Nelson breaks new ground
in “Ruin Nation: Destruction and the American Civil War.” In this study, Nelson digs
deeper to provide an understanding of what the war did to people and their environment,
blending Civil War studies with environmental history in a very helpful way.
James Oakes graciously granted CWBR an interview with new editor Frawley. Frawley
and Oakes discussed his new Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize-winning “Freedom National:
The Destruction of Slavery in the United States, 1861-1865,” which explores Republican
Party policy toward slavery both before and during the four years of conflict.
CWBR has several other excellent features this quarter as well. Michael Taylor highlights
a collection of letters that shows the intimate relationship between a Southerner
and his family as the war loomed. Randall Miller wrote a very useful essay for the
sesquicentennial column that examines the complex ascendency of Abraham Lincoln in
the presidential election of 1860. Finally, Frank Williams looks at a recent documentary
history of Mary Lincoln’s insanity trial in order to better understand one of the
least-favored first ladies in American history.
“As always, and for the last time, I must remind our readers that this scholarly journal
would not happen if not for the excellent support staff, including our editorial assistant
David Blankenship (who will also leave his post this spring), our fantastic library
and special collections staff who help us, and the readers, reviewers, and publishers
who continue to work with Civil War Book Review and make this a worthwhile venture,”
Please find and “Like” CWBR on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Civil-War-Book-Review/39087271834 or search “Civil War Book Review,” or follow on Twitter @CWBookReview.
Civil War Book Review is published in the first week of the months of February, May,
August and November. To receive e-mail reminders of upcoming issues and special features
on the website, click on “Sign me up for CWBR Updates!” link at the bottom of any
page in the journal. From there, readers can provide contact information to receive
these e-mail reminders. Contact information will not be shared with any third party.
Civil War Book Review is the journal of record for new or newly reprinted books about the antebellum, Civil War and Reconstruction eras, and is a project of the United States Civil War Center, LSU Libraries Special Collections. A reader’s survey can be accessed through the CWBR homepage.
To contribute to the Civil War Book Review fund, or for information on editorial matters, contact Frawley by phone at 225-578-3553 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted on Wednesday, March 27, 2013