Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Booknotes III (Mar '15)

New Arrivals:

1. Agriculture and the Confederacy: Policy, Productivity, and Power in the Civil War South by R. Douglas Hurt (UNC Pr, 2015).

"In this comprehensive history, R. Douglas Hurt traces the decline and fall of agriculture in the Confederate States of America. The backbone of the southern economy, agriculture was a source of power that southerners believed would ensure their independence. But, season by season and year by year, Hurt convincingly shows how the disintegration of southern agriculture led to the decline of the Confederacy's military, economic, and political power. He examines regional variations in the Eastern and Western Confederacy, linking the fates of individual crops and different modes of farming and planting to the wider story." The author also explains how the detrimental effects of the "lost harvest" of 1864 lingered well into the post-war period.

2. Exploring Lincoln: Great Historians Reappraise Our Greatest President edited by Harold Holzer, Craig Symonds, and Frank Williams (Fordham UP, 2015).

Part of Fordham's The North's Civil War series, this collection of sixteen (see what they did there?) essays is based on Lincoln Forum presentations from the past three years. Some items deal with Lincoln as legal mind, commander-in-chief, president, and politician while others explore key relationships (ex. with Seward, McClellan, and the city of New York).  A number of articles address peripheral subjects like the Old Army, the meaning of the Battle Hymn of the Republic, and the "treason" of Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis.

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