civil war

  Walt Whitman’s Drum-Taps: The Complete 1865 Edition is the first publication of Whitman’s original Civil War poetry collection since the bard himself published Drum-Taps over 150 years ago. Many of the poems in Drum-Taps eventually found their way into Leaves of Grass.

Lawrence Kramer is an English professor and musicologist at Fordham University and is especially interested in the sonic elements of Whitman’s poetry. He has set several of Whitman’s poems to music and has a unique perspective on this great American poet’s work as a result.

Prof. Kramer will be reading from and speaking about Drum-Taps at Oblong Books & Music in Rhinebeck, NY on Wednesday, August 5th.

  We are very happy to continue our regular feature – Ideas Matter: Checking in with the Public Humanities.

One hundred fifty years ago this coming week was a ceremony that most Americans believe ended the Civil War - the surrender agreement at Appomattox Court House. What is wrong with the way we understand that event and the end of the war?

Greg Downs, Gregory Downs is an Associate Professor at the City College & Graduate Center, CUNY, and is the author of the just-published After Appomattox: Military Occupation and the Ends of War, is here to tell us.

  They met in person only four times, yet these two men—Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee—determined the outcome of America's most divisive war and cast larger-than-life shadows over their reunited nation. They came from vastly different backgrounds: Lee from a distinguished family of waning fortunes; Grant, a young man on the make in a new America. Differing circumstances colored their outlooks on life: Lee, the melancholy realist; Grant, the incurable optimist.

  When Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address in 1863, he had broader aims than simply rallying a war-weary nation. Lincoln realized that the Civil War had taken on a wider significance—that all of Europe and Latin America was watching to see whether the United States, a beleaguered model of democracy, would indeed “perish from the earth.”

In The Cause of All Nations: An International History of the American Civil War, distinguished historian Don H. Doyle explains that the Civil War was viewed abroad as part of a much larger struggle for democracy that spanned the Atlantic Ocean, and had begun with the American and French Revolutions.

  In Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War, Karen Abbott illuminates one of the most fascinating yet little known aspects of the Civil War - the stories of four courageous women - a socialite, a farmgirl, an abolitionist, and a widow - who were spies.

  On the eve of the Civil War, one soldier embodied the legacy of George Washington and the hopes of leaders across a divided land. Both North and South knew Robert E. Lee as the son of Washington’s most famous eulogist and the son-in-law of Washington’s adopted child. Each side sought his service for high command. Lee could choose only one.

In The Man Who Would Not Be Washington, former White House speechwriter Jonathan Horn reveals how the officer most associated with Washington went to war against the union that Washington had forged. This extensively researched and gracefully written biography follows Lee through married life, military glory, and misfortune.

  For well over a century, traditional Civil War histories have concluded in 1865, with a bitterly won peace and Union soldiers returning triumphantly home.

In his new book, Marching Home: Union Veterans And Their Unending Civil War, Civil War historian Brian Matthew Jordan creates an entirely new narrative. These veterans— tending rotting wounds, battling alcoholism, campaigning for paltry pensions— tragically realized that they stood as unwelcome reminders to a new America eager to heal, forget, and embrace the freewheeling bounty of the Gilded Age.

  Jacopo Della Quercia is an educator and history writer who has authored more than 100 articles for the comedy website Cracked.com. His work has been featured in The New York Times best-seller: You Might Be a Zombie and Other Bad News.

His new book is the historical thriller, The Great Abraham Lincoln Pocket Watch Conspiracy. The book is an equal-parts cocktail of action, adventure, science-fiction and comedy. It follows a globe-trotting President Taft and Robert Todd Lincoln in a race to solve a mystery stretching back to the Civil War and the Lincoln assassination. Based on true events, the books describes a vast conspiracy spanning four continents and three oceans during the turn of the century.

  This week in our Ideas Matter segment, we are joined by representatives from The Vermont Humanities Council to discuss their Fall conference which is entitled: A Fire Never Extinguished; How the Civil War Continues to Shape Civic and Cultural Life in America.

    

  This Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (April 11 – 13), The Underground Railroad History Project of the Capital Region will present their 13th Public History Conference. This year’s conference is entitled Slavery and the Underground Railroad: the Larger Context, the Lingering Legacy and is co-sponsored by Russell Sage College, The Department of History and Society at Russell Sage College, and the Rensselaer County Historical Society.

Here now to tell us all about it are Brea Barthel, a co-coordinator of the Conference, and Professor at SUNY Albany and RPI and Paul Stewart, Scholar in Residence at Russell Sage College and co-founder of the Underground Railroad History Project of the Capital Region.

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