The War That Made America: Essays Inspired by the Scholarship of Gary W. Gallagher

Univ. of North Carolina. Mar. 2024. 280p. ed. by Caroline Janney & others. ISBN 9781469678894. pap. $32.95. HIST
Historian Gary W. Gallagher’s (emeritus, Univ. of Virginia; Cold Harbor to the Crater) contributions to the study of the U.S. Civil War have engaged numerous students and colleagues. An introductory essay and epilogue by the editors do an excellent job of introducing readers to Gallagher’s scholarship and situating the contributed essays within Civil War historiography. Gallagher and others incorporated gender, race, and class studies into the traditional study of military leaders and campaigns, and they utilized research methods popularized by the New Social History of the 1960s. Gallagher’s former students and colleagues contribute essays to this volume that expand upon themes he developed. These nine studies are grouped into three categories. First, the national sentiment grouping looks beyond the North and South, includes transnational themes, and examines Confederate relationships with Indigenous peoples. Secondly, there’s the centrality of military events and how battlefield actions shaped Americans’ understanding of the war and insight into enslaved peoples’ quest for freedom. Finally, there’s the intersection of history and memory with the tensions that arose between what happened and how it is remembered.
VERDICT Readers interested in the latest research on Civil War history that moves beyond battles and leaders will enjoy this title.
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