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A Few Thoughts About Brian Matthew Jordan’s Marching Home

It is difficult to deny the influence that the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have had on recent scholarship about Civil War veterans and the broader genre of studies that now fall under the heading, “dark history.” In the preface to his new book, Marching Home: Union Veterans and Their Unending Civil War, Brian […]

New to the Civil War Memory Library, 12/29

I decided this year to discontinue my “Best of…” lists. Simply put, I read a lot of really good Civil War history and I am finding it difficult to single out specific books. Here are some late arrivals to my library in 2014. Don H. Doyle, The Cause of All Nations: An International History of […]

The Online Journals of the House of Representatives of Massachusetts

I started researching Revolutionary New England in earnest a little over fifteen years ago. I was lucky to begin as the World Wide Web spread and as institutions like the Google corporation, the Hathi Trust, and universities decidedShow More Summary

A walk at “Tuleyries”

Earlier today, circumstances were such that I had an opportunity to enjoy the morning sunrise. Granted, it was overcast, but watching the dawning of a new day can be pleasant enough. My destination… the Virginia Arboretum (aka, Blandy Experimental Farm). Why? For one, it’s free… and open, literally, from dawn to dusk. I visited for […]

Just Desserts in a New Children’s Book?

A picture book to be published next month takes readers through three centuries of history following a simple recipe for blackberry fool, but it has depths that some people have found troubling. The book is A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries, Four Families, One Delicious Treat, written by Emily Jenkins and illustrated by Sophie Blackall. Show More Summary

“Marion Harland’s” Civil War

Though not a Shenandoah Valley author, Mary Virginia Hawes Terhune (aka… “Marion Harland”) is still someone who caught my attention. Yes… Virginia-born, but… she comes with a particular twist when dealing with the Civil War. Here’s what the entry in Encyclopedia Virginia has to say about her and the war… Harland’s novels were written over […]

I Only Read This Book for the Relatable Past

You might think that Thomas A. Foster’s Sex and the Founding Fathers is about the sexual behavior of the men who led the American Revolution and the creation of the federal government. But take a look at the subtitle: The American Quest for a Relatable Past. Show More Summary

“Papers and books were scattered everywhere…”: A Day at The Briars

In speaking with someone just the other day, I mentioned how I’ve had an incredibly enjoyable time working through the nineteenth century literature of the Shenandoah Valley… meaning, the literature generated by those who lived here, and by those from without who wrote about the Valley and its people. In fact, I’m still working through […]

Editing the “Compulsively Circumspect” Thomas Hutchinson

This year the Colonial Society of Massachusetts published the first volume of its Correspondence of Thomas Hutchinson series, a project decades in the making. That makes a valuable and widely discussed source available at last.This month the series’s chief editor, John W. Show More Summary

New Year’s Resolution: No more running over battlefield monuments, sitting on cannons or leavings coins for good luck

The battlefield monuments at Gettysburg have seen it all: cars plowing into them, kids climbing all over them, lightning and tree limbs knocking them off base and wind blowing them over. However, the battlefield’s crack repair team put them all back together and, in honor of its work, was given a National Park Service award this month.Read full article >>

The Latest

Back in September, my ears perked up at this History News Network article, “Why Historians Can’t Afford to Ignore Gossip.” As a supporter of unabashed gossip, I found the history of that term interesting:The very definition of gossip has changed over time. Show More Summary

“History Walks On All Of Us”

But history walks on all of us, lashed by time, and sometimes we feel its boot on our backs, and sometimes we are oblivious to its passing, the swing of sorrow and triumph through humanity, sorrow, and then, finally, crippling grief fading to obscurity, which is perhaps why Americans want little to do with history, […]

Complete Medical Histories from the Founders

Jeanne E. Abrams’s Revolutionary Medicine: The Founding Fathers and Mothers in Sickness and in Health came out from New York University Press in 2013. Here are an H-Net review, a C-SPAN video, and a podcast discussion of the book on Liz Covart’s “Ben Franklin’s World” podcast. Show More Summary

Early New England’s Blotter

Anthony Vaver’s Early American Crime blog offers one of the liveliest landscapes of life in colonial and federal America. It tells stories of burglary, murder, counterfeiting, and other crimes. Earlier this year Vaver collected the best...Show More Summary

Between Reluctance and Revolution

In From Resistance to Revolution Pauline Maier portrayed American Whigs as gradually becoming disenchanted with higher and higher levels of British government until in late 1775 or early 1776 they gave up on King George III himself and opted for independence. Show More Summary

What Did Bostonians Start a Revolution for?

In An Empire on the Edge: How Britain Came to Fight America, Nick Bunker posits a provocative parallel for Massachusetts in 1773, during the lead-up to the Tea Party: “Perhaps the closest equivalent in modern times was the end of the Communist regime in East Germany.” Having visited Leipzig and other G.D.R. Show More Summary

A Sesquicentennial Thank You to Cheryl Jackson

The Holidays are a time to share those things that we are grateful for and in the spirit of this blog, and with the end of the sesquicentennial looming ahead, I want to express my gratitude and thanks to Cheryl Jackson. Cheryl is the executive director of the Virginia Sesquicentennial Commission. In my mind no […]

Last Best Hope of What?

Most Civil War enthusiasts, including yours truly, know much too little about the international context of our civil war. It is with this in mind that I dove right into Don Doyle’s new book, The Cause of All Nations: An International History of the American Civil War. It’s an absolutely fascinating story that includes a […]

Merry Christmas, Mr. President

On this day 150 years ago Union general William Tecumseh Sherman entered the city of Savannah, Georgia. On the following day he sent this telegram to President Lincoln. [Source: Library of Congress]

Confederate Monument Replaced By a Bud

Back in 2011 the Confederate solider monument in Reidsville, North Carolina was hit by a car. A debate ensued about whether it should be repaired and whether it should be relocated. The United Daughters of the Confederacy chose to move it to a local cemetery. City officials have recently decided on a piece of public […]

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