The New York Times: Disunion

Modern Historians Revisit and Reconsider The Civil War from Lincoln’s Election to the Emancipation Proclamation

Edited by Ted Widmer, with Clay Risen and George Kalogerakis

A major new collection of modern commentary, from scholars, historians, and Civil War buffs, on the significant events of the Civil War, culled from The New York Times’ popular Disunion on-line journal.

“wonderfully multifarious. . . American history meets the snap, crackle and pop of lively online writing”
–Kirkus Reviews, STARRED

Since its debut on November 6, 2010, Disunion, The New York Times’ acclaimed journal about the Civil War, has published hundreds of original articles and won multiple awards, including “Best History Website” from the New Media Institute and the History News Network. Following the chronology of the secession crisis and the Civil War, the contributors to Disunion, who include modern scholars, journalists, historians, and Civil War buffs, offer ongoing daily commentary and assessment of the Civil War as it unfolded.

Now, for the first time, this fascinating and historically significant commentary has been gathered together and organized in one volume. In The New York Times: Disunion, historian Ted Widmer, has selected more than 100 articles that cover events beginning with Lincoln’s presidential victory through the Emancipation Proclamation. Topics include everything from Walt Whitman’s wartime diary to the bloody guerrilla campaigns in Missouri and Kansas. Esteemed contributors include William Freehling, Adam Goodheart, and Edward Ayers, among others.

The book also compiles new essays that have not been published on the Disunion site by contributors and well-known historians such as David Blight, Gary Gallagher, and Drew Gilpin Faust. Topics include the perspective of African-American slaves and freed men on the war, the secession crisis in the Upper
South, the war in the West (that is, past the Appalachians), the war in Texas, the international context, and Civil War–era cartography. Portraits, contemporary etchings, and detailed maps round out the book.

Ted Widmer is a historian, writer, and librarian who served as a speechwriter in the later days of the Clinton White House. He was the first director of the C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience and an associate professor of history at Washington College from 2001 to 2006. In 2006 he was appointed director and librarian of the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University. Widmer is the author of Listening In: The Secret White House Recordings of John F. Kennedy, Martin Van Buren (2005), Campaigns: A Century of Presidential Races (with Alan Brinkley, 2001), and Young America: The Flowering of Democracy in New York City (1999) and has edited the two volumes of American Speeches: Political Oratory from Abraham Lincoln to Bill Clinton published by the Library of America (2006). He is a frequent contributor to The New York Times, The New York Observer, and The American Scholar.

Clay Risen is an Op-Ed staff editor at The New York Times and the author of A Nation on Fire: America in the Wake of the King Assassination.

George Kalogerakis has been a deputy Op-Ed editor at The New York Times since 2006. He is a co-author of Spy: The Funny Years.

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