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The Struggle for Social Justice,Classification of a Classic,and Historiographical Hullabaloo


My name is Frank Hardie and I am excited to introduce myself as your new Civil War Book Review editor. I must admit that when I first took over, I was a little tentative as to whether or not I would fit in with the prestigious staff of the United States Civil War Center, but I am relieved to report that they have been nothing but gracious and pleasant in welcoming me into the close-knit society of those who study the war. In fact, they have gone so far as to ensure that I get the full Civil War experience by putting me through a rigorous indoctrination whereby I must eat nothing but hardtack and black coffee for every meal. And although I suspect it might be because there are no available spaces in the parking lot, I have been instructed it is essential to my training that I actually march to and from work without the aid of a car or horse. The Winter 2005 issue is highlighted by two columns, both of which concern the African-American fight for social justice. In Rediscovery of Civil War Classics, guest columnist Gregory J.W. Urwin reviews The Negro in the American Rebellion (Ohio University Press, ISBN 082141528X, $24.95, softcover, originally published in 1867) and examines William Wells Brown's struggle to convince northern whites to support a freedmen-friendly Reconstruction policy. James D. Hardy reviews John Ernest's Liberation Historiography (The University of North Carolina Press, ISBN 0807855219, $21.95, softcover), a study of African-American social literature, as guest columnist for Perspectives From Afield and Afar. In commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the publication of The Killer Angels (Random House, ISBN 0679643249, $21.95, hardcover), the CWBR has added a special feature (in lieu of our traditional interview), David Madden's original essay, The Last American Epic, which considers the Shaara trilogy as epic in the true definition of the word. As for new fiction, Randal Allred predicts that Philip Lee Williams' A Distant Flame (Thomas Dunne Books, ISBN 0312332521, $24.95, hardcover) will take a prominent place among the novels which are most meaningful in our quest to understand this vast and elusive question of our collective past. As you have come to expect from Civil War Book Review, our feature reviews cover a variety of topics. The Ongoing Civil War (University of Missouri Press, ISBN 0826215246, $32.50, hardcover), reviewed by John Benson, is a collection of essays that challenges both accepted beliefs concerning the war and traditional historiography. In her review of The Correspondence of Sarah Morgan and Francis Warrington Dawson (University of Georgia Press, ISBN 0820325910, $39.95, hardcover), Sally McMillen evaluates the story of a southern woman's postwar struggle with independence. Terry Winschel appraises Michl B. Ballard's methodology in Vicksburg: The Campaign That Opened the Mississippi (The University of North Carolina Press, ISBN 0807828939, $39.95, hardcover), which elucidates the pivotal role of the siege of Vicksburg. Jane Schultz reviews K. Patrick Ober's Mark Twain and Medicine (University of Missouri Press, ISBN 0826215025, $47.50, hardcover), an inspection of the author's curious practices regarding health and medicine. In her review of The President Is Shot! (Boyds Mill Press, ISBN 1563979853, $17.95 hardcover), Meg Galante-DeAngelis extols the value of Harold Holzer's adaptation of the Lincoln assassination into a mystery for young readers. Adult readers interested in Lincoln's death will want to read Terry Alford's review of American Brutus (Random House, ISBN 037550785, $29.95, hardcover) by Mark W. Kauffman. In Brothers One and All (Louisiana State University Press, ISBN 080712978X, $39.95, hardcover), Mark H. Dunkelman investigates the fixative of soldiers in combat. The Winter 2005 Issue also includes the annotations of several recently reprinted texts significant to Civil War studies:

The Battle of the Wilderness by Gordon C. Rhea The Overland Mail by LeRoy R. Hafen The South Since the War by Sidney Andrews Yankee Rebel edited by John G. Barrett
Of the many soldier letters books, Yankee Rebel might be one of the best. The writing of Northerner-turned-Confederate Edmund D. Patterson belies his young age as his words are highly intellectual and insightful. His descriptions of battle scenes are vivid and horrifying, but his observations can also carry a tinge of ironical humor. In conclusion, I extend my genuine gratitude to outgoing editor Chris Freeman, who did the preliminary work for this issue, and to USCWC Director Leah Wood Jewett, whose patience has made this transition snag-free. Most deserving of thanks are the reviewers who have taken time from busy schedules to contribute their expertise to our journal. Their labors have increased the variety and depth of the Winter 2005 issue, which I am certain you will enjoy.