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    Review of Wittenberg, Eric J. & Scott L. Mingus, The Second Battle of Winchester: The Confederate Victory that Opened the Door to Gettysburg
    (The Civil War Monitor, 2016-11) Zander, Cecily
    The famous bloodletting in Adams County, Pennsylvania, on the first three days of July 1863 came after weeks of hard campaigning by Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia and George G. Meade’s Army of the Potomac. The fighting in and around Winchester, Virginia, the third week of June resulted in one-tenth of the casualties sustained at Gettysburg, but served as a vital element of the maneuvering that brought the two most important Civil War armies to their grand collision. In The Second Battle of Winchester: The Confederate Victory that Opened the Door to Gettysburg, Eric J. Wittenberg and Scott L. Mingus, Sr., offer a new look at the engagement that eliminated the Union military presence in the Shenandoah Valley and cleared the way for Lee’s second invasion of the North.
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    Review of Stanley, Matthew E., The Loyal West: Civil War and Reunion in Middle America
    (The Civil War Monitor, 2017-05) Zander, Cecily
    During the Grand Review of Union Armies at the close of the American Civil War, newspaper reports celebrated the achievements of the returning veterans. The Boys in Blue were lauded for their efforts in preserving the Union, but as Eastern and Western soldiers met for the first time in the nation’s capital, it became clear that little more than uniforms united the men. Soldiers of the Western armies often observed—after being in close proximity with their Eastern counterparts—that Western men held fundamentally different beliefs about the war and its meaning than their Eastern compatriots. Sectional division not only separated North and South, but they also marked the difference between East and West. It is this internal division that Matthew E. Stanley deftly examines in The Loyal West: Civil War and Reunion in Middle America.
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    Review of Powell, David A., The Chickamaugua Campaign: Barren Victory: The Retreat into Chattanooga, the Confederate Pursuit, and the Aftermath of the Battle
    (The Civil War Monitor, 2018-01) Zander, Cecily
    Though the literature on the Chickamauga campaign takes up a respectable amount of space on Civil War bookshelves, room remains for useful studies like David A. Powell’s Barren Victory: The Retreat into Chattanooga, the Confederate Pursuit, and the Aftermath of the Battle, September 21 to October 20, 1863. Powell’s volume is a companion to earlier monographs detailing the initial phase of the fighting in South Tennessee and North Georgia and an examination of the bulk of the battle proper: the only major Confederate victory ever achieved in the Western Theater. In this third volume, Powell examines how both the Army of Tennessee and the Army of the Cumberland (and their respective commanders, Braxton Bragg and William S. Rosecrans) responded to the strategic situation following the fighting. Powell also provides several useful statistical appendices.
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    Review of Wert, Jeffrey D., Civil War Barons: The Tycoons, Entrepreneurs, Inventors and Visionaries Who Forged Victory and Shaped a Nation
    (The Civil War Monitor, 2018-11) Zander, Cecily N.
    Jeffry D. Wert is perhaps best known to readers of Civil War history as a chronicler of battles and leaders. For his latest book, however, Wert has turned his keen biographer’s eye to the stories of nineteen “Civil War barons,” whose industrial fortunes and futures were yoked to the outcome of the conflict. The result offers plenty for historians to consider about how wars change economies and how the Civil War accelerated American capitalist development. The book also provides interesting stories of ordinary Americans whose lives were altered by a war in which they never donned a uniform. Wert’s narrative demonstrates that a history of the Civil War can explore sweeping change without losing sight of the individuals whose actions accelerated those transformations.
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    Review of Broomall, James J., Private Confederacies: The Emotional Worlds of Southern Men as Citizens and Soldiers
    (The Civil War Monitor, 2019-07) Zander, Cecily N.
    James J. Broomall’s Private Confederacies: The Emotional Worlds of Southern Men as Citizens and Soldiers joins a growing wave of new scholarship investigating the Civil War experiences of common soldiers. Like Peter Carmichael’s The War for the Common Soldier (2018) and Lorien Foote’s The Gentlemen and the Roughs (2010), Broomall considers the thoughts, feelings, and cultures of Civil War soldiers. And just as Stephen Berry did in All That Makes a Man (2004), Broomall elects to consider largely the perspective of Southern men, assessing the war’s impact on their conceptualizations of masculinity and self-reliance. Though Broomall’s book deals with questions Civil War historians have been asking for as long as there has been a history of the conflict, his astute analysis and engaging source material make Private Confederacies a worthwhile addition to the literature on the soldiers of the Civil War.
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    Review of Gwynne, S.C., Hymns of the Republic: The Story of the Final Year of the American Civil War
    (The Civil War Monitor, 2019-11) Zander. Cecily N.
    In Hymns of the Republic: The Story of the Final Year of the American Civil War, S.C. Gwynne presents a readable narrative that carries readers from Ulysses S. Grant’s arrival in the Eastern Theater to the surrender of Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Court House. For the most part, Gwynne sets his story in the east, though side excursions to Fort Pillow and William Tecumseh Sherman’s March to the Sea break up the heavy focus on the exchange of blows between Grant and Lee at the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor, and Petersburg. The archival research is slim, as evidenced by a bibliography that lists mainly secondary works and published accounts. Gordon Rhea’s work heavily informs the military narrative of the Overland Campaign, while the classic texts of Bruce Catton and Douglas Southhall Freeman clearly shaped Gwynne’s portrayals of Grant and Lee, respectively.
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    Review of Willis, Deborah, The Black Civil War Soldier: A Visual History of Conflict and Citizenship
    (The Civil War Monitor, 2021-03) Zander, Cecily N.
    Ask any Civil War historian what they find compelling about studying America’s great national conflict and you are almost certain to receive an answer that includes the war’s visual culture. The war transformed many aspects of American life and culture; it was one of the first modern conflicts to be brought home to civilians via the medium of photography. In The Black Civil War Soldier: A Visual History of Conflict and Citizenship, Deborah Willis has compiled arresting images and a compelling narrative. She argues that photography helped African Americans to form communities and forge a cultural identity as the country underwent its new birth of freedom.
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    Review of Waite, Kevin, West of Slavery: The Southern Dream of a Transcontinental Empire
    (The Civil War Monitor, 0021-07) Zander, Cecily N.
    As an historian of the Civil War’s westernmost reaches, I have been eagerly anticipating the publication of Kevin Waite’s West of Slavery: The Southern Dream of a Transcontinental Empire. Waite’s book is a significant achievement of scholarship, building on older literatures of slavery, western expansion, and nineteenth-century imperialism while advancing a newer body of work grappling with alternative forms of coercive and unfree labor in the United States, the borderlands, the significance of the American West to the Civil War, and the interconnected relationship between the West and South during the Civil War era. Waite reveals not only the ways in which Southerners and slaveholders imagined the Southwest, but also examines the lasting consequences of those pro-slavery imperial visions for a region most Americans do not associate with slaveholding.
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    Review of White, Jonathan W., A House Built By Slaves: African American Visitors to the Lincoln White House
    (The Civil War Monitor, 2022-04) Zander, Cecily N.
    For many years, historians have debated the answer to the question, “who freed the slaves?” One camp, headed by James M. McPherson, argued for the centrality of President Abraham Lincoln in the process of slavery’s abolition; another, led by Ira Berlin, insisted that the actions of enslaved peoples and their abolitionist allies forced Lincoln to act. In A House Built By Slaves, historian Jonathan W. White deftly shows that both Berlin and McPherson were correct in their assertions. By examining the day-to-day life of Lincoln’s White House, White offers a narrative of Black Americans pushing the president toward emancipation and Lincoln listening to their arguments as he steered the ship of state through the turmoil of the Civil War. This is a book that underscores the degree to which ensuring freedom for nearly four million people held in bondage was not the work of one faction or one man, but the work of many hands.
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    Review of Edwards, Laura F., Only the Clothes on Her Back: Clothing and the Hidden History of Power in the Nineteenth-Century
    (The Civil War Monitor, 2022-08) Zander, Cecily N.
    Princeton University Professor Laura F. Edwards is best known for her sterling work on the legal history of the Civil War and Reconstruction eras. Her ability to vividly portray the changes that the Civil War brought to the American legal landscape has earned high praise from prize committees and professional organizations alike. Her latest work melds legal history with the history of material culture. It is a book about textiles—clothing, linens, shoes, and even cloth—the everyday objects that shaped the creation of laws and bolstered the political power of women in the nineteenth-century United States. Only the Clothes on Her Back is a novel and compelling work of legal history, written with clarity and verve, and deserving of a wide readership.
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    Review of Cimprich, John, Navigating Liberty: Black Refugees and Antislavery Reformers in the Civil War South
    (The Civil War Monitor, 2023-05) Zander, Cecily N.
    Published to great fanfare in 1964, Rehearsals for Reconstruction by Willie Lee Rose has long represented the standard for scholarly works dealing with complex and troubled process of wartime emancipation. As enslaved Black Americans sought their freedom throughout the conflict, a polyglot organization of military officers, politicans, and white reformers attempted to ease the transition to freedom, though their reasons for doing so were often far from progressive. Given its scholarly importance—and the critical nature of its subject—it will come as no surprise that Rose’s work inspired dozens of subsequent monographs. The latest of these is John Cimprich’s incisive study Navigating Liberty: Black Refugees and Antislavery Reformers in the Civil War South.
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    Review of Orr, Timothy J., The Battle of Gettysburg: The Second Day
    (The Civil War Monitor, 2023-08) Zander, Cecily N.
    Osprey Publishing has long set the standard for handsomely illustrated volumes of military history, and the latest in their growing Civil War series, Timothy J. Orr’s The Battle of Gettysburg: The Second Day, is yet another example of such sterling work. Orr, with the assistance of illustrator Steve Noon, has delivered a concise account of one of the most complicated single-days of combat in the history of the war, written with verve and authority. Clocking in at just under 100 pages, the book is a perfect guide for battlefield visitors looking to extend their understanding of the battle beyond surface level, or a handy reference for scholars and readers seeking a clearer understanding of both tactics and leadership decisions that shaped the events of July 2, 1863.
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    Review of Beilein, Jr. Joseph M., A Man by Any Other Name: William Clarke Quantrill and the Search for American Manhood
    (The Civil War Monitor, 2023-12) Zander, Cecily N.
    In the aftermath of the Vietnam War, historians of a much earlier American conflict began to see similarities between the guerilla warfare that played out in the dense jungles of Southeast Asia and the irregular fighting that characterized the Civil War experience in places like Missouri and Kansas. Men such as William Clarke Quantrill suddenly emerged as vivid and violent exceptions to the traditional story of Civil War combat. These Civil War guerrillas, like Tom Berenger’s crazed Staff Sargent Robert Barnes in Platoon, were bloody-minded aberrations from the typical American soldier—villains all.
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    Gettysburg, readdressed
    (The Civil War Monitor, 2022-12) Zander, Cecily
    From a rostrum in the town where, just four months previously, two of the largest armies ever assembled on the American continent waged a fierce battle. Lincoln used just 272 words to assess the battle's cost and the war's greater meaning. Since that long-ago day, seven presidents have delivered addresses at Gettysburg. Each of them celebrated the legacy of Lincoln's remarks--though Lincoln himself realized that they made little impression on his countrymen. Lincoln could not have known that by the time his successors faced the prospect of speaking at Gettysburg, he had become an impossible act to follow.
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    Review of Masich, Andrew E., Civil War in the Southwest Borderlands, 1861-1867
    (Michigan State University Department of History, 2019-02) Zander, Cecily
    Andrew E. Masich’s Civil War in the Southwest Borderlands is an important intervention in the growing scholarly literature on the Civil War in the American West. As a region, the West has been largely ignored in scholarly assessments of the nation’s most transformative era, with such works as Donald S. Frazier’s Blood and Treasure: Confederate Empire in the Southwest (1995) and Alvin M. Josephy’s The Civil War in the American West (1991) long considered the standard treatments. In the past decade, a new cohort of scholars has produced monographs, collections of essays, and dedicated issues of journals on the topic of the Civil War in the West. Masich joins this growing chorus of voices exhorting Civil War enthusiasts and scholars to include the West in their narrative of the conflict, though his approach reminds all scholars of the period to consider carefully not only what made conflicts in the far West similar to the Civil War but also what set them apart.
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    Review of Taylor, Paul, The Most Complete Political Machine Ever Known: The North's Union Leagues in the American Civil War
    (Michigan State University Department of History, 2020-02) Zander, Cecily
    Joining the growing tide of literature concerned with understanding nationalism in the Civil War-era North, Paul Taylor’s The Most Complete Political Machine Ever Known: The North’s Union Leagues in the American Civil War offers a detailed analysis of the creation and maintenance of one of the war’s least understood institutions—Union Leagues. Union Leagues—private (sometimes secret) clubs formed by civilians interested in expressing their support for the Union cause, cultivating patriotic attitudes, and policing treasonous dissenters—were, according to Taylor, “the North’s primary arbiter of how loyalty and treason were defined” in the loyal states during the conflict (p. 12). In the literature on nationalism during the Civil War, a true study of these civilian-led institutions has been absent, though much needed. By providing the first full-length study of Union Leagues, Taylor offers historians a chance to better understand how Civil War Americans understood loyalty and treason, and, perhaps most critically, how they defined and expressed the idea of the Union in the midst of a war of disunion.
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    Review of Nelson, Megan K., The Three-Cornered War: The Union, the Confederacy, and Native Peoples in the fight for the West
    (Michigan State University Department of History, 2020-09) Zander, Cecily
    The introduction of the American West as an important region in the historiography of the US Civil War has brought many issues into sharper focus for historians—among them questions about race and unfree labor in the age of emancipation and the length and extent of Reconstruction. In the case of historian and writer Megan Kate Nelson’s Three-Cornered War, old debates about nationalism are revived and given redefined stakes in a work that presents a sweeping history of competing political and social visions for the future of the Southwest in the midst of civil war.
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    Review of Clampitt, Bradley R., Lost causes: Confederate demobilization and the making of veteran identity (Conflicting worlds: New dimensions of the American Civil War)
    (Michigan State University Department of History, 2023-03) Zander, Cecily
    Bradley R. Clampitt’s Lost Causes: Confederate Demobilization and the Making of Veteran Identity joins a host of recent scholarly works concerned not with what happens during major wars, but rather with what happens when such conflicts come to an end. Drawing on sources written by some 400 former Confederate soldiers, and survey answers from an additional 700 Confederate veterans, Clampitt interprets a chorus of more than 1,100 voices to understand how Confederate identity evolved after the guns fell silent in 1865. Through careful analysis and research, Clampitt demonstrates that process of demobilization helped to establish the ideological underpinnings of the Lost Cause.
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    Gettysburg in Texas: The challenges and rewards of teaching military history beyond the battlefield
    (Center for Military War and Society Studies, 2022-08-18) Zander, Cecily
    When I began training to be a military historian my mentors repeatedly emphasized the value of bringing students to battlefields. There was no better way to teach about what happened, they explained, than to place students in the catbird seat of history—allowing them to see the places they were reading and learning about and to visualize history beyond the page.
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    Recollections and reminiscences of the Stonewall Brigade
    (Central Virginia Battlefields Trust, 2022) Zander, Cecily Nelson
    Nicknames communicate a great deal about the people who participated in the events of the American Civil War. This was not only true in the case of individuals — much better to be known to your men as “Uncle Billy” than “Granny Holmes,” for example — but also in the case of regiments and brigades. The importance of nicknames is why, when asked to name some of the most illustrious units to serve in the war, many would call to mind the Midwesterners of the Iron Brigade or the Virginians who composed the Stonewall Brigade. The latter shared its nickname with its most famous commander, Thomas Jonathan Jackson, who organized the men of the 2nd, 4th, 5th, 27th, and 33rd Virginia infantry regiments for service in 1861.