Book cover of The Heart of Hell: The Soldiers' Struggle for Spotsylvania's Bloody Angle by Jeffry Wert
Civil War

The Heart of Hell: The Soldiers’ Struggle for Spotsylvania’s Bloody Angle

The struggle over the fortified Confederate position known as Spotsylvania’s Mule Shoe was without parallel during the Civil War. A Union assault that began at 4:30 A.M. on May 12, 1864, sparked brutal combat that lasted nearly twenty-four hours. By the time Grant’s forces withdrew, some 55,000 men from Union and Confederate armies had been drawn into the fury, battling in torrential rain along the fieldworks at distances often less than the length of a rifle barrel. […Learn More]

Book cover of Lincoln on the Verge: Thirteen Days to Washington by Ted Widmer
Biography & Autobiography

Lincoln on the Verge: Thirteen Days to Washington

Lincoln on the Verge tells the dramatic story of America’s greatest president discovering his own strength to save the Republic.

As a divided nation plunges into the deepest crisis in its history, Abraham Lincoln boards a train for Washington and his inauguration—an inauguration Southerners have vowed to prevent. […Learn More]

Book cover of Heroines of Mercy Street: The Real Nurses of the Civil War by Pamela Toler
Biography & Autobiography

Heroines of Mercy Street: The Real Nurses of the Civil War

Heroines of Mercy Street tells the true stories of the nurses at Mansion House, the Alexandria, Virginia, mansion turned war-time hospital and setting for the PBS drama Mercy Street. Among the Union soldiers, doctors, wounded men from both sides, freed slaves, politicians, speculators, and spies who passed through the hospital in the crossroads of the Civil War, were nurses who gave their time freely and willingly to save lives and aid the wounded. […Learn More]

Book cover of Ruin Nation: Destruction and the American Civil War by Megan Kate Nelson
Civil War

Ruin Nation: Destruction and the American Civil War

During the Civil War, cities, houses, forests, and soldiers’ bodies were transformed into “dead heaps of ruins,” novel sights in the southern landscape. How did this happen, and why? And what did Americans—northern and southern, black and white, male and female—make of this proliferation of ruins? Ruin Nation is the first book to bring together environmental and cultural histories to consider the evocative power of ruination as an imagined state, an act of destruction, and a process of change.
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Book cover of Ways and Means: Lincoln and His Cabinet and the Financing of the Civil War by Roger Lowenstein
Biography & History

Ways and Means: Lincoln and His Cabinet and the Financing of the Civil War

From renowned journalist and master storyteller Roger Lowenstein, a revelatory financial investigation into how Lincoln and his administration used the funding of the Civil War as the catalyst to centralize the government and accomplish the most far-reaching reform in the country’s history

Upon his election to the presidency, Abraham Lincoln inherited a country in crisis. Even before the Confederacy’s secession, the United States Treasury had run out of money. The government had no authority to raise taxes, no federal bank, no currency. […Learn More]

Civil War

The False Cause: Fraud, Fabrication, and White Supremacy in Confederate Memory

The Lost Cause ideology that emerged after the Civil War and flourished in the early twentieth century in essence sought to recast a struggle to perpetuate slavery as a heroic defense of the South. As Adam Domby reveals here, 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. […Learn More]

Book cover of The Crooked Path to Abolition: Abraham Lincoln and the Antislavery Constitution by James Oakes
Civil War

The Crooked Path to Abolition: Abraham Lincoln and the Antislavery Constitution

An award-winning scholar uncovers the guiding principles of Lincoln’s antislavery strategies.

The long and turning path to the abolition of American slavery has often been attributed to the equivocations and inconsistencies of antislavery leaders, including Lincoln himself. But James Oakes’s brilliant history of Lincoln’s antislavery strategies reveals a striking consistency and commitment extending over many years. The linchpin of antislavery for Lincoln was the Constitution of the United States. […Learn More]

History

How the South Won the Civil War: Oligarchy, Democracy, and the Continuing Fight for the Soul of America

While the North prevailed in the Civil War, ending slavery and giving the country a “new birth of freedom,” Heather Cox Richardson argues in this provocative work that democracy’s blood-soaked victory was ephemeral. The system that had sustained the defeated South moved westward and there established a foothold. It was a natural fit. Settlers from the East had for decades been pushing into the West, where the seizure of Mexican lands at the end of the Mexican-American War and treatment of Native Americans cemented racial hierarchies. […Learn More]