NEW BOOKS: American History.

The Dead March; A History of the Mexican-American War by Peter Guardino. Harvard University Press, 2017. A bloody war (1846-1848) that redrew the map of the American Southwest. And divided us from our soon-to-be neighbors, the Mexicans.

Cattle Kingdom; The Hidden History of the Cowboy West by Christopher Knowlton. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017. Put aside the hard-drinking cowboy, the swinging saloon doors, and the gunfights.

The Cowboy Strike; Bullets, Ballots, & Class Conflicts in the American West by Mark Lause. Verso, 2017. Exploited, underpaid, a seasonal worker who engaged in a series of militant strikes in our Out West.

The Election of 1860; A Campaign Fraught with Consequences by Michael Holt. University Press of Kansas, 2017. Holt looks carefully at the rhetoric of the Republican Party during that election because of its anti-southern tone.

The War That Forged a Nation; Why the Civil War Still Matters by James McPherson. Oxford University Press, 2017 paper. The Civil War remains embedded in our national psyche and identity. 140 years after Appomattox, we are still fighting over memorial statues.

Lincoln and the Abolitionists; John Quincy Adams, Slavery, and the Civil War by Fred Kaplan. Harper, 2017. Lincoln argued that African-Americans should ‘migrate back to Africa’; Adams was an ardent abolitionist whose advocacy anticipated the later rise of multicultural US.

Grant by Ron Chernow. Penguin, 2017. It takes Chernow 1100 pages to refute the various stereotypes that cloud Ulysses Grant’s reputation. He argues that Grant was a victim of post-Civil War America.

The Presidency of Ulysses S. Grant by Charles Calhoun. University Press of Kansas, 2017. Grant’s eight years in the White House (1868 to 1876); his views concerning the Reconstruction of the Confederacy, his economic policy, civil service reform, and foreign affairs.

Southern Reconstruction by Philip Leigh. Westhome, 2017. Reconstruction was devastating to the old Confederacy. Equally unsettling: President Andrew Johnson’s impeachment (1868) and Ulysses Grant’s scandal-ridden administration .

Jefferson Davis’s Final Campaign; Confederate Nationalism and the Fight to Arm Slaves by Philip Dillard. Mercer University Press, 2017. By the fall of 1864 the North was winning the war. Should Davis have opened the ranks of the Confederate armies to freedmen and recast the war as a nationalist struggle? Davis took to the press to open a discussion of the role of slavery and freedman in the American South.

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