Historical dictionary of the Civil War and Reconstruction /

Main Author: Richter, William L. 1942-
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: Lanham, Md. : Scarecrow Press, 2004.
Series: Historical dictionaries of U.S. historical eras ; no. 2.
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Review by Choice Review

While reference books of high quality on the Civil War are never in short supply, its postwar era has largely been ignored in the reference literature. Richter (author of The ABC-CLIO Companion to American Reconstruction, 1862-1877, CH, Jun'97) demonstrates that the Civil War and Reconstruction periods were inextricably tied and should be examined together. The work begins with a chronology and a historiographical essay, followed by detailed entries on individuals, legislation, events, and institutions, then ends with a 203-page bibliography subdivided by topic. An appendix reprints important documents of the era (e.g., the 1861 Constitution of the Confederate States of America, the post-Civil War amendments to the US Constitution). Besides being a superb reference on the Civil War, this work supplants Hans Louis Trefousse's Historical Dictionary of Reconstruction (CH, Jan'92) as the best available dictionary on the Reconstruction era. ^BSumming Up: Essential. All academic libraries. J. R. Burch Jr. Campbellsville University

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Booklist Review

Any event as pivotal as the American Civil War is going to be constantly reviewed, reanalyzed, and reconsidered. This extremely readable volume by a Ph.D. in history from Louisiana State University includes new interpretations of events and individuals. Part of the publisher's Historical Dictionaries of U.S. Historical Eras series, it seeks to place the war in context by encompassing the years 1844-1877. The dictionary's more than 800 entries are organized alphabetically, with numerous see0 references to main entries. Key personnel, battles, legislation, legal cases, and elections are all covered. The main figures (Lincoln, Davis) are represented with lengthy, multipage biographies, with lesser figures receiving approximately one page. Even minor but notable events, such as the Red River Campaign, Colfax Race Riot (1874), and Coushatta Massacre, are included. Controversial individuals--Lee and Grant, for example--are portrayed in balance, and the work takes a new look at stock characters, such as Carpetbaggers0 and Scalawags,0 who may not have been the total villains as usually portrayed. A selected bibliography, divided by subject headings, covers more than 200 pages. The dictionary concludes with a selection of primary documents. Some omissions are apparent. There is no entry on the Hunley,0 the first submarine in history to sink a ship, nor on General Leonidas Polk, "the Fighting Bishop." Women who served as nurses, among them Clara Barton, Kate Cumming, and Dorothea Dix, are lumped into one article, Nurses,0 rather than meriting their own entries. Other notable women,\b \b0 such as Belle Boyd, Mary B. Chesnut, and Harriet Tubman, are not mentioned. The number of reference works on the Civil War grows almost daily. Although not as expansive as ABC-CLIO's Encyclopedia of the American Civil War: A Political, Social, and Military History 0 (2000), this book should be added to reference collections of academic and large public libraries. The readable style, balanced coverage, and authoritative scholarship make it an important work. --Abbie Vestal Landry Copyright 2005 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Library Journal Review

A select chronology begins this volume, followed by an introductory essay that reviews the changing historical interpretations of the Civil War and Reconstruction. Richter (The Army in Texas During Reconstruction, 1865-1870) then offers more than 800 entries, some cross-referenced, spanning 1844-77, on a wide variety of topics including politicians, legislation, notable women, battles and wars, and economics. Appendixes present documents related to the era (e.g., the constitutions of the United States and of the Confederacy). The select bibliography is arranged by topic. Although this is an updated edition, only a small number of the books listed were published after 2000. For example, the bibliography neglects Doris Kearns Goodwin's Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln (2005) and Joan Waugh's U.S. Grant: American Hero, American Myth (2009). Richter's framing of events and citation of authors represents a distinctively Southern viewpoint. He refers to Lincoln as "Abe," a nickname Lincoln hated, and at one point refers to him as "a hack Whig politician." Information tends to be repeated throughout the book, e.g., there are two entries for Edmund Kirby Smith, one listed under K and the other under S, and they contain the same basic information, just worded differently. It should be noted that Lincoln delivered his "House Divided" speech in Springfield, IL, not Chicago. VERDICT This volume will appeal to readers who prefer a Southern interpretation of the War between the States.-Patricia Ann Owens, Illinois Eastern Community Coll., Mt. Carmel (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.