Civil War Historians Need Not Apply

There has been an interesting discussion on H-Net this month: "Civil War Historians Need Not Apply" - or why academia rejects Civil War history as a discipline. Here are a few thoughts:

"Civil War historians often treat the war as an end--they read American history as a way to understand the war and not the other way around. … hobbyists and descendents-turned-biographers have commandeered the printing presses." [LINK]

"There is an entire human drama underlying the American Civil War that no history department worth its salt would ignore. But that doesn't mean classical military history is the best way to convey the overall struggle." [LINK]

"From 1960 onwards, Civil War scholarship has been dominated by what might be termed the 'civil rights generation': Eric Foner, James M. McPherson, David Donald … etc. They put slavery and race back in the center of the war. […] But we've had trouble moving on [beyond McPherson et al]; we look like generals who want to keep refighting the same tired old battles over and over again." [LINK]