Michael Frawley


Intellectually, I understood that a large number of books were published about the Civil War every year. I also realized that with this being the sesquicentennial of the conflict, even more books were being released now. But, now that I have taken over the editorship of the Civil War Book Review and I have seen the piles of books being published about the conflict still filling my office, it is staggering. This avalanche of scholarship shows just how vital research into the war is, and this issue of the Review displays this in wonderful detail. From new looks at many traditional military and political aspects of the war, to new topics that are just now coming to light, the scholarship of the Civil War period has never been better or more varied. Gretchen Long’s new work, Doctoring Freedom: The Politics of African American Medical Care in Slavery and Emancipation, is the subject of this issues Author Interview, and is a perfect example of how new subjects are constantly being explored. Dr. Long’s work delves into an area of that has not been well studied, the importance of medical care as an expression of freedom and independence for slaves and freedmen before, during, and after the war. Our featured reviews this issue cover a wide variety of traditional and non-traditional aspects of the period, blazing new trails to future study. Caleb Smith’s, The Oracle and the Curse: A Poetics of Justice from the Revolution to the Civil War, explores how trials and legal writings effected other forms of literature and popular culture, giving a unique look at the time leading up to the Civil War. The Best Station of them All: The Savannah Squadron, 1861-1865, by Maurice Mellon, looks at a neglected part of naval history, individual squadron histories of the Confederate Navy. Harry Laver takes a new look at Ulysses S. Grant to show how he grew as a leader from his earliest days in the Army to Appomattox in The Leadership of Ulysses S. Grant: A General Who Will Fight. Finally is a volume that explores the impact of T. Harry Williams, the eminent historian of the war who not only was a great scholar, but a great teacher, in, Lee and His Generals: Essays in Honor of T. Harry Williams, edited by Lawrence Lee Hewitt and Thomas E. Schott. Beyond the reviews featured this issue, Michael Taylor continues his excellent column of Civil War Treasures, focusing on how Southerners filled the gaps in education without access to northern book publishers. While the Sesquicentennial Column features a review of the current standing of the military history of the Civil War by Earl Hess, an expert in the field. As I take over the Review I would be remiss if I did not thank all of the authors, publishers, and reviewers that make a publication like this possible and highly enjoyable to work at. Thank you for all of your time and effort which continues to drive forward our understanding of this complex period in American history.