Book Review: The Yellowhammer War: The Civil War and Reconstruction in Alabama


by Kenneth W. Noe, editor

Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2013. Pp. x, 310. Maps, notes, biblio., index. $49.95. ISBN: 0817318089

New Perspectives on Alabama in the Civil War Era

In his introduction to this anthology, editor Noe (Auburn University), notes that in contrast to the centennial observances, when the focus was almost entirely on “battles and leaders “of the Civil War, the sesquicentennial commemoration had added to the mix the home front, gender, race, economics, Reconstruction, and more. 

The anthology opens with essays on the Alabama democracy in the election of 1860 and of Alabama women in furthering secession in the aftermath of the election. There follow two good battle pieces, on Alabamians n the Battle of Salem Church (May 3, 1863)  and Nathan Bedford Forrest’s attempt to defend the state in 1865 against superior Union forces.

There follows an essay examining the role of class in soldier motivations, marginal communities such as the white rural poor and the war, a profile of wartime novelist August Jane Evans, a look Alabama’s Jewish community in the war,  and the war, and of Alabamians, both black and white, to Lincoln’s assassination. 

Five papers deal with Reconstruction in Alabama. The include a retrospective look at Reconstruction, the “Carpetbagger” George E. Spencer, the work of the Freedman’s Bureau, and the importance and role of the African-American church in Reconstruction. 

All of the essays are well written, thoughtful pieces, and help reveal how the often complex evolution of events affected individuals and communities within the state. A good read for anyone seriously interested in the Civil War or Reconstruction.

Note: The Yellowhammer War is also available as an e-book 978-0-8173-8704-4.


Reviewer: A. A. Nofi, Review Editor    

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