2nd Edition

The American Civil War
A Literary and Historical Anthology

ISBN 9780415537070
Published March 26, 2013 by Routledge
368 Pages

USD $79.95

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Book Description

The American Civil War: A Literary and Historical Anthology brings together a wide variety of important writings from the Civil War and Reconstruction eras, including short fiction, poetry, public addresses, memoirs, and essays, accompanied by detailed annotations and concise introductions.

Now in a thoroughly revised second edition, this slimmer volume has been revamped to:

  • Emphasize a diversity of perspectives on the war
  • Showcase more women writers
  • Expand the number of Southern voices
  • Feature more soldiers' testimony
  • Provide greater historical context.

With selections from Louisa May Alcott, Walt Whitman, Sidney Lanier, Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, Kate Chopin, and many more, Ian Finseth’s careful arrangement of texts remains an indispensable resource for readers who seek to understand the impact of the Civil War on the culture of the United States. The American Civil War reaffirms the complex role that literature, poetry, and non-fiction played in shaping how the conflict is remembered.

To provide students with additional resources, the anthology is now accompanied by a companion website which you can find at [insert URL].  There you will find additional primary sources, a detailed timeline, and an extensive bibliography, among other materials.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Written War  






The Writers Glossary

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Ian Frederick Finseth,


"There was no dominant voice of the Civil War epoch. As The American Civil War: A Literary and Historical Anthology reveals, Northerners and Southerners of all social classes and racial backgrounds refused to be silent about their experiences. Each group wrote about the trauma and triumphs of organized killing with great imagination, showing that there was no one "real war," but many "real wars." And undoubtedly Walt Whitman would be pleased to see all of these perspective collected in a single book, skillfully edited by Ian Frederick Finseth, whose cast of Civil War writers puts to rest the myth that war is incommunicable."Peter S. Carmichael, Fluhrer Professor of History, Gettysburg College

"In this second edition, Ian Finseth builds on the strengths of his remarkable volume: the selections reflect the richly complex field of Civil War scholarship, while remaining highly accessible to new students, and offering an important pedagogical tool for instructors. The volume captures a diversity of perspectives on the Civil War, and impresses on us the important role literature, across genres, played during the conflict. We not only understand the literature of the Civil War in reading the anthology; we come to realize that we cannot fully grasp the lived experience of the Civil War unless we study its literature. Well-organized and thoughtfully annotated, Finseth’s volume reflects careful scholarship and pedagogical engagement at their best." Colleen G. Boggs, Associate Professor of English, Dartmouth College

"Expertly compiled and deftly edited... A welcome and highly recommended addition to personal, academic, and community library Civil War Studies reference collections and supplemental reading lists." The Midwest Book Review, June 2013

"This book does a superb job as a literary anthology about the American Civil War." - The Lone Star Book Review

Support Material

Companion Website

Please visit our companion website for additional support materials.