I find these forthcoming titles to be intriguing enough to inform y’all about.
First, Glenn Basher’s The Peninsula Campaign and the Necessity of Emancipation: African Americans and the Fight for Freedom has an April 2, 2012 release date from UNC Press. Basher pushes and argument that I hold as well: the escape of thousands of enslaved people in the spring and summer of 1862 during the Peninsula Campaign had a greater stake in pushing the Lincoln administration toward the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. After all, it was during the summer of 1862 that he wrote it.
Secondly, Jim Downs’ Sick from Freedom: African-American Illness and Suffering during the Civil War and Reconstruction sounds particularly fascinating. Downs uses the records of the Medical Division of the Freedmen’s Bureau to illustrate how thousands of recently emancipated people faced the trials of illnesses and the struggles of the Medical Division of the Freedmen’s Bureau in dealing with these ailing people. It will be released by Oxford University Press in April 2012.
I’d argue both of these books are particularly relevant to the spring of 2012 as we begin to think about emancipation and the liberation of enslaved people throughout the South in 1862 which occurred in greater numbers than ever before.
Next, my friend and fellow blogger, Kevin Levin of Civil War Memory will be smiling as his book Remembering the Battle of the Crater: War as Murder will be released in June 2012 by the University of Kentucky Press. Kevin has spent years researching the infamous July 30, 1864 Battle of the Crater, which took place outside of Petersburg, Virginia. His take on the battle however is less about what happened in the weeks leading to the battle and the tactics used on the battlefield and rather is a study in Civil War memory or how that battle was remembered from the afternoon of July 30, 1864 through the Civil Rights period. He includes a final chapter which will address the improvements in interpretation over the years in discussing the battle from the National Park Service which protects the battlefield.
I think these three works are worth investigating this year. Happy reading!