Thursday, September 13, 2018

Recent Acquisitions to My Library

One of the reasons I like going to history conferences is that I often pick up book recommendations. Historians are typically good about sharing what they think are good books, whether in their presentations or in casual conversation. When I was the the Gettysburg College Civil War Institute back in June, Peter Carmichael recommended No Freedom Shrieker: The Civil War Letters of Union Soldier Charles Biddlecom in his talk on common soldiers. Biddlecom served in the 147th New York regiment and he apparently gives the reader a unglorified look at how he experienced the war.

Studies about antebellum Southern colleges are among my favorites. I saw Rot, Riot, and Rebellion: Mr. Jefferson's Struggle to Save the University that Changed America about three years ago in the University of Virginia bookstore while providing an extended tailored tour. Recently I came across an inexpensive used copy while killing some time in a book store in Richmond and decided to buy it.

Last month I had the good fortune to get a little time away from work and spend it listening to the beautiful sounds of the North Carolina coast. While there doing some history sightseeing I realized how little I actually knew about eastern North Carolina's experience during the Civil War. After seeing a copy of Shifting Loyalites: The Union Occupation of Eastern North Carolina in the gift shop of one of the museums I visited, I looked for a used copy when I returned and and decided that this study looked like a good place to start increasing my knowledge about the region.

Battle Scars: Gender and Sexuality in the American Civil War is another book I found in the Richmond used book store. Edited by well-respected historians Catherine Clinton and Nina Silder, this collection of ten essays by a host leading gender historians in the field cover a diverse array of topics on this central theme.

I provided a brief review of John Brown Speaks: Letters and Statements from Charleston in yesterday's post, so I won't mention much here other than to say if one wants to get a inside look at Brown's thoughts and concerns while awaiting execution, there is not better source than the collection of letters he sent from his Charlestown jail cell. Read it!

Robert Smalls is a fascinating historical character. Along with Be Free or Die: The Amazing Story of Robert Smalls' Escape from Slavery to Union Hero, he is also the subject of an article in the most recent issue of the Smithsonian Magazine. It is high time that this amazing story gets more deserved attention. I'm looking forward to learning more about the details this exciting story of escape and how the publicity it received in the North was perceived in the Confederacy.

Oberlin, Hotbed of Abolitionism: College, Community,, and the Fight for Freedom and Equality in Antebellum America is a book that has been on my wish list since before it was released. I've kept my eye on its used price and decided that when it finally got within my budget range I'd get a copy, which I did last week. Oberlin, an early interracial and co-educational college, was a leader in the abolitionist movement producing key anti-slavery figures who became participants in numerous events leading up to the Civil War. I'm expecting it to be a great read.

The Tie That Bound Us: The Women of John Brown's Family and the Legacy of Radical Abolitionism is another welcome addition the growing John Brown section of my library. I hoping to form an even better understanding of Brown's influences by reading about female members of his family. I'm not sure how I had not come across this work before, but I'm happy to now have it among my collection.

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