Been way too long since I’ve posted here. It’s been since October 2019! In the fall, high school and college football season took much of my time, as I’m involved in a local sports radio show that requires a lot of what little spare time I have during the week in the fall. I’ve also been working on some writing projects. The biggest factor in my absence here, however, has been the transition to online teaching this semester (thanks, Covid-19), as well as the new series of public history sites reviews that I edit now for H-net. I haven’t been able to post as many as I would like, and the pandemic situation has cut off pretty much all tourism these days. But if you have not been following the series, please check it out. The latest addition is a unique essay about Richmond’s Monument Avenue from author Ben Cleary (Searching for Stonewall Jackson).
If you’d like to contribute a review for the series, please contact me!
What brings me back today, however, is a tweet and blog post from friend and historian Kevin Levine. During the pandemic shutdown, people have been posting pics of stacks of books that have meant a lot to them for various reasons. Kevin tweeted out and posted on his blog a stack of books he feels impacted his understanding of the Civil War and the questions he has asked as a researcher and writer. I like that! Challenge accepted!
So here’s mine, in no particular order. I won’t bore you with the details, but each of these works is reflected in some way in my own book, whether interpretively, stylistically, or inspirationally (or sometimes all three). Weevils in the Wheat may seem out of place in a stack of Civil War books. Yet there’s a ton of Civil War history in there coming from a different perspective on the war than was reflected in the military histories of battles and campaigns until fairly recently (I humbly like to think my book has played at least some small role in changing that). These are also older classics, which is in no way meant to disparage all the great stuff that has been written lately. But I think these works all hold up extremely well. Potter’s work, for instance, is in my mind still THE work on the coming of the war. Whenever something new comes out that seems like a different angle, you can almost always go to Potter and find that he already had it covered.
So what’s your list?