Why the Civil War West Mattered (and Still Does)

In two recent columns for Civil War Times, historian Gary Gallagher repeats many arguments he has made in the past dismissing scholarly work on the Civil War West – a theater that he defines in his August 2017 column as extending from the Appalachians to the Pacific coast, and from North Carolina to Georgia. In … Continue reading Why the Civil War West Mattered (and Still Does)

Watching and Talking About “Free State of Jones”

Free State of Jones. Directed by Gary Ross. STX Entertainment, 2016. In wide release, June 25, 2016. As I settled into my seat with my notebook, pen, bag of popcorn, and Junior Mints, I muttered to myself, “Please let this be good.” I was in the movie theater, with about twenty other people (it was … Continue reading Watching and Talking About “Free State of Jones”

Staging Slavery and the American Civil War: Suzan-Lori Parks’ *Father Comes Home from the Wars (Parts 1, 2, & 3)*

A few weeks ago, I went with Kevin and Michaela Levin to see Suzan-Lori Parks’ new play, Father Comes Home from the Wars (Parts 1, 2, & 3) at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The play is part of a longer cycle (there will ultimately be nine parts) but this segment focuses on … Continue reading Staging Slavery and the American Civil War: Suzan-Lori Parks’ *Father Comes Home from the Wars (Parts 1, 2, & 3)*

Extreme History: Apache Pass, Arizona

As I turned off the highway and onto the county road, I made the call. My husband answered. “I’m going in,” I said. “Okay,” he replied, “Let me know when you’re out.” We hung up and I drove on, squinting in the sun, trying to find the brown road sign denoting a historic site. Ah. … Continue reading Extreme History: Apache Pass, Arizona

Material Realities

One of the first items you see in the New-York Historical Society’s exhibition on Civil War textiles is a giant cotton bale. Its burlap bagging is shredded so that the cotton mushrooms up out of it, released from the tension of compaction. Behind it is a photograph of a Confederate fortification at Yorktown in 1862, … Continue reading Material Realities