Edited by Kate Masur & Gregory P. Downs
At the close of the Civil War, it was clear that the military conflict that began in South Carolina and was fought largely east of the Mississippi River had changed the politics, policy, and daily life of the entire nation. In an expansive reimagining of post – Civil War America, the essays in this volume explore these profound changes not only in the South but also in the Southwest, in the Great Plains, and abroad. Resisting the tendency to use Reconstruction as a catchall, the contributors instead present diverse histories of a postwar nation that stubbornly refused to adopt a unified ideology and remained violently in flux. Portraying the social and political landscape of postbellum America writ large, this volume demonstrates that by breaking the boundaries of region and race and moving past existing critical frameworks, we can appreciate more fully the competing and often contradictory ideas about freedom and equality that continued to define the United States and its place in the nineteenth-century world.
Additional contributors include Amanda Claybaugh, Laura F. Edwards, Crystal N. Feimster, C. Joseph Genetin-Pilawa, Steven Hahn, Luke E. Harlow, Stephen Kantrowitz, Barbara Krauthamer, K. Stephen Prince, Stacey L. Smith, Amy Dru Stanley, Kidada E. Williams, and Andrew Zimmerman.
“Ponder these essays, assign this volume, and join the authors in rethinking the many worlds the Civil War made.”
“The essays in the collection engage with one another and with these key ideas better than in almost any other edited volume I have read.”— Journal of Southern History
“An undoubtedly important contribution to the literature on Reconstruction… Break[s] new ground and offer[s] excellent suggestions and inspirations for future study.”— Register of the Kentucky Historical Society
“Rather than stretching existing historiographical concepts to fit the seemingly exceptional, these writers suggest ongoing reenvisioning of Civil War origins… Recommended.”— Choice
“The stickiness of Reconstruction in the volume is striking because the editors are correct that Reconstruction has both been stretched too far at times andimposes a certain, often ill-fitting, framework on scholarship. Maybe part of the difficulty is that often the harder you try to stop thinking about somethingthe harder it is to put out of your mind .… Downs, Masur, and their contributors have certainly produced a provoking volume on both nineteenth-centuryAmerica and how historians should study it.”— Civil War History
“The World the Civil War Made offers myriad vital and exciting new perspectives that transcend previous works and challenge our understanding of the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the American past.”— Elliott West, University of Arkansas