Campus News

Essays take fresh look at Civil War

Inside the Confederate Nation: Essays in Honor of Emory M. Thomas
Edited by Lesley J. Gordon and John C. Inscoe
Louisiana State University Press
$65 (cloth)

In The Confederacy as a Revolutionary Experience (1970) and The Confederate Nation (1979), Emory Thomas, former UGA history professor, redefined the field of Civil War history and re-conceptualized the Confederacy as a unique entity fighting a war for survival. Today scholars continue to build on Thomas’s work.

Inside the Confederate Nation honors his contributions to the field with fresh interpretations of all aspects of Confederate life-­nationalism and identity, family and gender, battlefront and homefront, race, and postwar legacies and memories. The book is edited by John Inscoe, UGA professor of history, and Lesley Gordon, associate professor of history at the University of Akron.

Many of the volume’s 20 essays focus on individuals, households, communities and particular regions of the South, highlighting the sheer variety of circumstances Southerners faced over the course of the war. Other chapters explore the public and private dilemmas faced by diplomats, policy makers, journalists and soldiers within the new nation. All of the essays attempt to explain the place of Southerners within the Confederacy, how they came to see themselves and others differently because of secession, and the disparities between their expectations and reality.