Winter Issue of Civil War Book Review Now Available

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 at

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,” Buman said.

Please find and “Like” CWBR on Facebook at 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

Ernie  Ballard 
LSU Media Relations

Posted on Wednesday, March 27, 2013