Book Review: The Civil War and Slavery Reconsidered: Negotiating the Peripheries


by Laura R. Sandy and Marie S. Molloy, editors

New York: Routledge, 2019. Pp. x, 208. Illus., notes, index. $149.95. ISBN: 0367181223

Exploring the Complexities of American Slavery

This work consists of an introduction and nine essays by a number of mostly British scholars exploring the “edges” of slavery and its interrelationship with America’s sectional conflict during the middle decades of the nineteenth century.

The papers fall into three groups.

The first set of papers examines the questions of slavery and Civil War as perceived on the international stage as an apparent failure of republicanism, an opportunity for European encroachment on the Americas, and the effects of war and slavery on national identity.

The second section addresses the effects of slavery on the fringes of polite society, from slave stealing to illicit sex and its influence on divorce and the “fluidity” of the concept of “race”.

The final section examines African-American experiences with emancipation and freedom and the political machinations of white society to restore the racial hierarchy despite emancipation and Reconstruction.

All of the papers cover topics more or less neglected, often deliberately, by earlier scholars, particularly those of the ‘Lost Cause” school, intent on establishing their own “politically correct” version of events.

The Civil War and Slavery Reconsidered, a volume in the Routledge series “Advances in American History”, is an excellent read for those interested in American social history, slavery, or the Civil War.


Note: The Civil War and Slavery Reconsidered is also available in several e-editions.


StrategyPage reviews are published in cooperation with The New York Military Affairs Symposium

Reviewer: A. A. Nofi, Review Editor   

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