Review of Wert, Jeffrey D., Civil War Barons: The Tycoons, Entrepreneurs, Inventors and Visionaries Who Forged Victory and Shaped a Nation
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.