Monday, December 16, 2019

Recent Acqusitions to My Library

In addition to those books that I received for my birthday back in November, I also received a generous gift card, which allowed me to haul in some more titles from my wish list.

I sometimes give custom tours of Civil War Era Richmond, Virginia sites. There are several good books out there about the Confederate capital city, but most have to do with the political and military aspects of the city. A new book, Rebel Richmond: Life and Death in the Confederate Capital by Stephen V. Ash, looks to open up the narrative and include more about the common people's war experience. I've enjoyed reading many of Ash's books and certainly look forward to diving into this one.

The largest slave auction in antebellum America occurred in early March 1859 in Savannah, Georgia. To help pay off enormous debts, Pierce M. Bulter sold over 430 men, women, and children to buyers who took their human property to diverse locations across the slave states. Their sale netted Butler over $300,000. In The Weeping Time: Memory and the Largest Slave Auction in American History, author Anne C. Bailey recounts not only the lead up to the auction and its events, but also how this episode in United States history was and is remembered by those it impacted most.

A Broken Regiment: The 16th Connecticut's Civil War by Lesley J. Gordon is a book that I've wished to add to my collection for quite some time. This work covers the unfortunate regiment's Civil War experience, from being raw troops thrown into the grinder at Antietam, to surrendering while serving in North Carolina in 1864, and serving significant time in Confederate prisoner of war camps. But it is also the story of how the regiment came to remember their hard luck service and reshape it to better fit the narrative of Union victory. 

James Martin's The Children's Civil War had a significant impact on my understanding of the conflict and how it shaped the lives of Northern and Southern children who experienced it. However, in Topsy-Turvy: How the Civil War Turned the World Upside Down for Southern Children, author Anya Jabour seeks greater specificity in solely examining black and white Southern children. Living where most of the fighting occurred and among a population of people--whether black or white--who "lived" the war most directly, should highlight some interesting stories and draw some intriguing conclusions.

Recent scholarship on slavery has focused heavily on capitalism and the "peculiar institution." Several trailblazing books provide a significant amount of evidence that plantation owners largely viewed their operation as a business and sought to wring as much labor out their enslaved property as possible. Accounting for Slavery: Master and Management by Caitlin Rosenthal continues discussions in this vein. Looking at plantations and their well-kept records in the West Indies and the slaves states of the U.S., she found intricate and innovative business practices being incorporated to help increase planters' profit margins, most often at the expense of those doing the work.

Feed you mind! 

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