MHQ Reviews: Blogging the Blue and Gray

Never forget! A 75th reunion of Gettysburg medal. (Heritage Auction Gallery, Dallas, Texas)
Never forget! A 75th reunion of Gettysburg medal. (Heritage Auction Gallery, Dallas, Texas)

THE SESQUICENTENNIAL of the Civil War demands a look at some of my favorite blogs connected with that conflict.

Pride of place easily goes to Civil War Memory (cwmemory.com/blog), maintained by Kevin Levin, who teaches at a private academy near Charlottesville, Virginia. Levin’s blog is an insightful look at how Americans remember and commemorate the Civil War. It consists of cogently written short essays, ranging from light-hearted jibes at tacky souvenirs (like a John Wilkes Booth bobblehead assassinating an Abraham Lincoln bobblehead) to a systematic demolition of the neo-Confederate myth that thousands of blacks fought for the Confederacy. His work is so good that in 2011 the Library of Congress made the blog part of its permanent digital collection.

Decidedly different is Renegade South (renegadesouth.wordpress.com), an offshoot of historian Victoria Bynum’s ongoing scholarship on Southerners who resisted the Confederate government. Although Bynum, a retired history professor from Texas State University, has written several books for specialists—among them The Long Shadow of the Civil War: Southern Dissent and Its Legacies—Renegade South brings the fruits of her research to a general audience, a fairly rare ambition among academics.

Eric Wittenberg, a prolific author on Civil War cavalry, frequently previews his research in Rantings of a Civil War Historian (civilwarcavalry.com). As the name implies, Wittenberg often writes posts that assail efforts to compromise the integrity of Civil War battlefields, as in a recent attempt to construct a huge Walmart within easy musket shot of the Wilderness battlefield.

Finally, those interested in new books on the Civil War can do no better than Andrew Wagenhoffer’s Civil War Books and Authors (cwba.blogspot.com), which offers judicious reviews of emerging Civil War scholarship—and in some cases entertaining retrospectives such as “Civil War One Hit Wonders,” a discussion of distinguished first books by authors who never wrote a second one.

There are dozens of superlative Civil War blogs, and it’s almost invidious to highlight some at the expense of the others. Fortunately the blogrolls of these selections will lead readers to other sites, most of which they’ll find fascinating.

 

Mark Grimsley, professor of history at Ohio State University, blogs at Blog Them Out of the Stone Age at warhistorian.org/wordpress.

 

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