In the Review Queue: Wars within a War: Controversy and Conflict over the American Civil War

The “In the Review Queue” series provides TOCWOC – A Civil War Blog readers with a brief look at books Brett Schulte is planning to review here on the blog.  These will be very similar to Drew Wagenhoffer’s “Booknotes” series at Civil War Books and Authors.

warswithinawarwaughgallagherI love books of essays.  If you dislike or disagree with one essay, there are always many more to go.  Gary Gallagher has edited numerous books of this type with much success over the years, so I’m eagerly awaiting the chance to dig into Wars within a War.  As the subtitle indicates, this collection of essays discuss controversial topics with regards to the American Civil War.  Anyone who has studied the subject knows just how heated some arguments can become.  Memory of the Civil War seems to play large role in this book, but there is much more here than memory.  Political, social, and military history can all be found in one form or another, often mixed.  I thought I’d end my comments with a link to showing a listing of the essays and their authors to allow TOCWOC readers to see if this is one they might be interested in.

Information on Wars within a War: Controversy and Conflict over the American Civil War from the University of North Carolina Press web site is as follows:

Wars within a War

Controversy and Conflict over the American Civil War

Edited By Gary W. Gallagher and Joan Waugh

The twelve essays in Wars within a War explore the internal stresses that posed serious challenges to the viability of the opposing sides in the Civil War as well as some of the ways in which wartime disputes and cultural fissures carried over into the postwar years and beyond.

Comprised of contributions from leading scholars, this volume extends the discussion of controversies far past the death of the Confederacy in the spring of 1865. Contributors address, among other topics, Walt Whitman’s poetry, the handling of the Union and Confederate dead, the treatment of disabled and destitute northern veterans, Ulysses S. Grant’s imposing tomb, and Hollywood’s long relationship with the Lost Cause narrative.

Reflecting a variety of approaches and methodologies, these essays provide a starting point for anyone interested in how Americans have argued about the prosecution, meaning, and memory of the war.


William Blair, The Pennsylvania State University

Stephen Cushman, University of Virginia

Drew Gilpin Faust, Harvard University

Gary W. Gallagher, University of Virginia

J. Matthew Gallman, University of Florida

Joseph T. Glatthaar, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Harold Holzer, Metropolitan Museum of Art

James Marten, Marquette University

Stephanie McCurry, University of Pennsylvania

James M. McPherson, Princeton University

Carol Reardon, The Pennsylvania State University

Joan Waugh, University of California, Los Angeles

About the Author

Joan Waugh is professor of history at the University of California, Los Angeles, and coeditor of the award-winning The Memory of the Civil War in American Culture. Gary W. Gallagher is John L. Nau III Professor in the History of the American Civil War at the University of Virginia. His most recent book is Causes Won, Lost, and Forgotten: How Hollywood and Popular Art Shape What We Know about the Civil War.

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