Sunday, October 19, 2008

Five best: the Civil War away from the battlefield

James M. McPherson, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Battle Cry of Freedom and the newly released Tried by War: Lincoln as Commander in Chief, named a five best list of "books about the Civil War away from the battlefield" for the Wall Street Journal.

One title from his list:
The Imagined Civil War
by Alice Fahs
University of North Carolina, 2001

In this sparkling study, Alice Fahs rescues from undeserved obscurity the vast outpouring of popular literature produced during the Civil War. Far from being the "unwritten war" described by literary historians, the conflict produced fiction, nonfiction and poetry that interpreted a people's war to the people. "Only weeks after the start of war in 1861," Fahs writes, "illustrated weeklies such as Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper began publishing columns labeled 'war humor,' 'war romance,' and 'thrilling incidents of the war.' " The most intriguing aspect of "The Imagined Civil War" is its discussion of magazine stories and books written for children, which not only shaped their perceptions of the earth-shaking events of their youth but also influenced their worldview as adults during the postwar era.
Read more about McPherson's list.

Learn more about McPherson's Tried by War: Lincoln as Commander in Chief.

--Marshal Zeringue