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EDITORIAL:

Southern Separatism,
Feminism, Freedpeople,
& John Brown's Moldering Milieu

by Hardie, Frank Winter Issue: Fall 2005


This issue of the Civil War Book Review covers a lot of topical territory. There are several books that, taken altogether, characterize the Confederacy as simultaneously doomed from its inception and destined for immortality. The late Armstead L. Robinson's posthumously published Bitter Fruits of Bondage: The Demise of Slavery and the Collapse of the Confederacy, 1861-1865 (University of Virginia Press, ISBN 0813923093, $34.95, hardcover) associates the class-separating nature of slaveholding with Confederate defeat. In our interview with Frank Towers, he discusses his analysis of the tensions between urban and rural contingents of the antebellum South in his book The Urban South and the Coming of the Civil War (University of Virginia Press, ISBN 0813922976, $45.00, hardcover). Two volumes on the leader of the Harpers Ferry Raid, John Brown, Abolitionist: The Man Who Killed Slavery, Sparked the Civil War, and Seeded Civil Rights (Alfred A. Knopf, ISBN 0375411887, $35.00, hardcover) by David S. Reynolds and John Brown's Body: Slavery, Violence, & the Culture of War (University of North Carolina Press, ISBN 080785557X, $49.95, hardcover) by Franny Nudelman, consider the meaning of Brown's divisive and deadly legacy in the North and South.

Several more titles concern the survival of southern nationalism and the legacy of white identity, both in the South and in the nation as a whole. Regarding one of the most prevalent controversies of the Confederate legacy, Gaines Foster reviews The Confederate Battle Flag: America's Most Embattled Emblem (Harvard University Press, ISBN 0674017226, $29.95, hardcover) in which John M. Coski illuminates the history and enduring power of the South's most recognizable symbol. Similarly, Anne Sarah Rubin describes the perseverance of Southern nationalism in her new book, A Shattered Nation: The Rise and Fall of the Confederacy, 1861-1868 (University of North Carolina Press, ISBN 0807829285, $34.95, hardcover) reviewed by Giselle Roberts. And Ward McAfee evaluates Edward J. Blum's Reforging the White Republic: Race, Religion, and American Nationalism, 1865-1898 (Louisiana State University Press, ISBN 0807130524, $54.95, hardcover), which describes how the nation as a whole recovered from the Civil War by suppressing both non-whites and non-Protestants. Lastly, W. Fitzhugh Brundage examines Paul Ashdown and Edward Caudill's The Myth of Nathan Bedford Forrest (Rowman & Littlefield, ISBN 0742543005, $24.95, hardcover), a survey of the many long-lasting manifestations of the figure of Forrest.

Two titles, one fiction and one non-fiction, present innovative views of female involvement in the war. In March: A Novel (Viking, ISBN 067033359 $24.95, hardcover), Geraldine Brooks tells the preceding story of the characters of Little Women. And Nina Silber portrays the relatively unknown accounts of Yankee women in Daughters of the Union: Northern Women Fight the Civil War (Harvard University Press, ISBN 0674016777, $29.95, hardcover).

James D. Hardy concludes that Russel H. Beatie's latest installment, Army of the Potomac Vol. II: McClellan Takes Command, September 1861-February 1862 (Da Capo Press, ISBN 0306812525, $45.00, hardcover) is more of a history of the military, rather than a military history. In her regular column, Civil War Treasures, Leah Wood Jewett explicates a letter written by a New Orleans Unionist assessing the occupying government. And in the Perspectives from Afield and Afar column, David Lucander assesses Heather Andrea Williams's before-and-after comparison on African-American education in relation to the Civil War in Self-Taught: African American Education in Slavery and Freedom (University of North Carolina Press, ISBN 080782920X, $29.95, hardcover).

The last review I will mention is the most poignant. Paying tribute to the passing of Shelby Foote, David Madden recalls Foote as a young novelist in his "Remembering Civil War Classics" column on Shiloh. In addition to our extensive reviews, this issue contains over 30 annotations of new and reprinted books. Here are several that are particularly worthy of mention. CWBR readers may be interested to note that Loss of the Sultana contains a forward by Madden, who called for a reprint of this book in his column in the Summer issue of 2001.

Black, White, and Indian by Claudio Saunt
Bourland in North Texas & Indian Territory by Patricia Adkins-Rochette
History of the Underground Railroad by R.C. Smedley
Loss of the Sultana edited by Chester D. Berry
The Darkest Dawn by Thomas Goodrich
The Union on Trial edited by Christopher Phillips and Jason L. Pendleton

The donation of time and expertise by our reviewers and columnists is what makes each issue of the Civil War Book Review a great read. I am very thankful for them and I am positive our readers will appreciate their contributions.

review of EDITORIAL:

Southern Separatism,
Feminism, Freedpeople,
& John Brown's Moldering Milieu
, by Hardie, Frank Winter, Civil War Book Review, (Fall 2005).