Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Booknotes: Extreme Civil War

New Arrival:
Extreme Civil War: Guerrilla Warfare, Environment, and Race on the Trans-Mississippi Frontier by Matthew M. Stith (LSU Press, 2016).

In both its regular and irregular aspects, the Civil War along the isolated nexus between Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, and Indian Territory is often described as being especially brutal for combatant and non-combatant alike. Stith's Extreme Civil War focuses on this area of the Trans-Mississippi, examining "the physical and cultural frontiers that challenged Confederate and Union forces alike." Emphasizing the uniqueness (on many levels) of the war in this border region, "Stith shows how white Confederate and Union civilians faced forces of warfare and the bleak environmental realities east of the Great Plains while barely coexisting with a number of other ethnicities and races, including Native Americans and African Americans. In addition to the brutal fighting and lack of basic infrastructure, the inherent mistrust among these communities intensified the suffering of all citizens on America's frontier."

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