Sunday, April 4, 2021

Recent Acquisitions to My Library

A few weeks ago I made a trip up to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, to pick up some loaned artifacts that we will be featuring in a temporary exhibit at work. After visiting a few of my favorite spots on the battlefield, I visited the National Park's visitor center bookstore. Browsing through the dozens of titles that relate to the Battle of Gettysburg and the Civil War in general, I found a section on African American history, and noticed Slavery and the Underground Railroad in South Central Pennsylvania by Cooper H, Wingert. Having previously visited Christiana, Pennsylvania and heard a number of stories about abolitionists in a number of different communities, I look forward to learning more through this title's contents. 


Old John Brown continues to a popular subject for historians. One of the most recently published studies is Charles P. Poland, Jr's, America's Good Terrorist: John Brown and the Harpers Ferry Raid. If you search on this blog for John Brown, you will find numerous posts. I find his attempts to end slavery and create a society of racial equality in the United States fascinating and extremely unusual for a white man of his time. Historians over the years have painted John Brown in many different lights. From the 1859 event until the present, the debate continues. How will Poland present his argument, and what evidence will he use? We will see.  


While John Brown worked to end slavery with boots on the ground direct action, Pennsylvania Congressman Thaddeus Stevens tried to do so though legislation. Noted historian Bruce Levine's Thaddeus Stevens: Civil War Revolutionary Fighter for Racial Justice is receiving a considerable amount of buzz on social media. In addition to being a radical politician, Stevens also led an interesting personal life. It is this aspect of the biography that I am most interested in learning more about. 

Embattled Freedom: Chronicle of a Fugitive Slave Haven in the Wary North by Jim Remsen details the story of a number of African American men who escaped slavery, settled in northeast Pennsylvania, and enlisted in the Union army when finally allowed to fight. I have the good fortune to often research and write soldier's stories, both black and white, Union and Confederate. Hearing about soldier's challenges, struggles, and sacrifices, and successes prove inspirational to me. I'm sure that Embattled Freedom will do so as well.  

Another Civil War-era book that is gaining lots of publicity is Robert E. Lee and Me: A Southerner's Reckoning with the Myth of the Lost Cause by Ty Seidule. Seidule, an Army brigadier general and history professor at West Point examines his own relationship with Confederate history and memory and why the truth and facts about the Confederacy have often remained obscure to Americans.  

We were honored to have Lee White, a ranger at Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, share his knowledge about he Battle of Franklin via Zoom at the April 1 Petersburg Civil War Roundtable. We try to provide our members with the opportunity to purchase our speaker's topical book. I've enjoyed many of the Emerging Civil War series titles, so I got a copy of Lee's Let Us Die Like Men: The Battle of Franklin, November 30, 1864. I've read several studies on the Battle of Franklin, but during Lee's talk he included a number of points that I did not know, so I look forward to reading his book and learning more. 

Happy reading!