Book of the Week


Belligerent Muse: Five Northern Writers and How They Shaped Our Understanding of the Civil War
by Stephen Cushman
foreword by Gary W. Gallagher

"From the lilt of Lincoln’s language to the barbs of Bierce and the pageantry of Chamberlain, Belligerent Muse takes readers into the complicated literary history of how the war was spun and how a national bloodletting transformed the writing of history and the history of writing in the United States."
--Stephen Berry, University of Georgia
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Kate Masur on Lincoln’s emigration proposal and the views of African American delegates

For all the attention to Lincoln’s ideas and motivations, however, there has been very little focus on the delegates’ side of the story. For decades no one even knew who they were, much less what they stood for. Drawing on the work of the historian Benjamin Quarles, many believed that four of the five delegates were uneducated former slaves, hand-picked by Lincoln and his colonization commissioner, James Mitchell, to be pliable and subservient. In fact, all five of the men who listened to Lincoln’s case for colonization were members of Washington’s free black elite, chosen by a formal meeting of representatives from Washington’s independent black churches. [...]

General Hancock’s Hour: Glenn David Brasher at NY Times Disunion

At the New York Times’ Disunion blog, Glenn David Brasher, author of The Peninsula Campaign and the Necessity of Emancipation: African Americans and the Fight for Freedom, writes about the Battle of Williamsburg, which proved to be a key turning point in the career of Gen. Winfield Scott Hancock. The information he acted on, however, came from local African Americans. [...]

Was Freedom Enough? Gregory Downs at NY Times Disunion

An excerpt from Gregory Downs’s blog at the NY Times Disunion Series concerning the livelihood of newly emancipated slaves. [...]