Book of the Week


Defining Duty in the Civil War:
Personal Choice, Popular Culture, and the Union Home Front

by J. Matthew Gallman

"A compelling examination of how struggling northerners defined, debated, and delineated loyal behavior during the four years of the American Civil War. At once entertaining and enlightening, Gallman’s lively survey of an impressive range of print literature yields fresh understanding of the evolving roles that patriotic Union civilians aspired to emulate."
--Joan Waugh, author of U.S. Grant: American Hero, American Myth

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Excerpt: With a Sword in One Hand and Jomini in the Other, by Carol Reardon

Military theory is an intellectually sophisticated and complex form of cultural expression. At the start of the Civil War, the U.S. Army and the people it defended barely had begun to demonstrate an interest in developing a capacity to think about war as an element of national life. They had done little to institutionalize such study. As a consequence, when the Civil War broke out, Northerners had few resources to turn to for insights on an American way of war, and they had no choice but to look to the military classics from across a cultural divide for the intellectual authority they sought. […]