Themes of the American Civil War
The War Between the States
Edited by Susan-Mary Grant, Brian Holden-Reid
Routledge – 2009 – 400 pages
Themes of the American Civil War offers a timely and useful guide to this vast topic for a new generation of students. The volume provides a broad-ranging assessment of the causes, complexities, and consequences of America’s most destructive conflict to date. The essays, written by top scholars in the field, and reworked for this new edition, explore how, and in what ways, differing interpretations of the war have arisen, and explains clearly why the American Civil War remains a subject of enduring interest. It includes chapters covering four broad areas, including The Political Front, The Military Front, The Race Front, and The Ideological Front.
Additions to the second edition include a new introduction – added to the current introduction by James McPherson – a chapter on gender, as well as information on the remembrance of the war (historical memory). The addition of several maps, a timeline, and an appendix listing further reading, battlefield statistics, and battle/regiment/general names focuses the book squarely at undergraduates in both the US and abroad.
"For college history professors who teach that the Civil War is more than just drums and guns, as I do, this book presents a nice introduction to the Civil War’s complexities. … The 15 finely-crafted essays in this book … offer fresh insight into important topics. They also include examinations of historiography that allow the reader to understand the genesis of particular debates."
– Jonathan A. Noyalas, Lord Fairfax Community College, Civil War News
Introduction to the 2009 edition: Susan-Mary Grant
Introduction to the 2000 Edition: James M. McPherson
Part I: One and Inseparable
Chapter 1: The State of the Union, 1776-1860
Part II: And the War Came…
Chapter 2: Southern Secession in 1860-1861
Chapter 3: The First of the Modern Wars?
Joseph G. Dawson III
Chapter 4: The Experience of the Civil War: Men at Arms
Chapter 5: Command and Leadership in the Civil War, 1861-1865
Brian Holden Reid
Chapter 6: Abraham Lincoln, the Presidency, and the Mobilization of Union Sentiment
Chapter 7: Jefferson Davis and the Confederacy
Chapter 8: Capitalism and the Civil War
Part III: Emancipation: Race and Gender in the Civil War
Chapter 9: Fighting for Freedom: African-American Soldiers in the Civil War
Chapter 10: The Fight for Black Suffrage in the War of the Rebellion
Chapter 11: ‘What did we go to war for?’ Confederate Emancipation and its Meaning
Chapter 12: Slavery and Emancipation: the African-American Experience during the Civil War
Chapter 13: ‘To Bind up the Nation’s Wounds’: Women and the American Civil War.
Part IV: Legacy
Chapter 14: From Union to Nation? The Civil War and the Development of American Nationalism.
Chapter 15: Individual Rights and Constitutional Powers: the impact of the Civil War
Guide to Further Reading
Notes on Contributors
Susan-Mary Grant is Professor of American History at Newcastle University, UK. She is the author of The War for a Nation: The American Civil War (Routledge), and current editor of the journal American Nineteenth Century History.
Brian Holden Reid is Professor of American History and Military Institutions, King’s College London. He is the author of America's Civil War: The Operational Battlefield, 1861-1863 and Robert E. Lee: Icon for a Nation.