Civil War Sesquicentennial – Culture

Winslow Homer's "The Army of the Potomac - A Sharpshooter on Picket Duty"  (Art Institute of Chicago)

Winslow Homer’s “The Army of the Potomac – A Sharpshooter on Picket Duty”
(Art Institute of Chicago)

The Civil War dominated life in the United States in the mid-19th Century, and with the build-up and Reconstruction, it can be little wonder that it left an impact on more than just the economic and political scene. Culturally, the War was a milestone: journalism and photography changed the ways in which Americans received their news, while poetry, music, and literature became impacted by the experiences on and off the battlefield. Larger than life characters – John Brown, Robert E. Lee, Abraham Lincoln – became central figures in the myth-making of the period, but ordinary soldiers, through their own words, drawings, and music, shared the universality of the fighting.

We may not even realize the extent to which our modern culture has been shaped by what happened 150 years ago, but we can get a glimpse of the influence by understanding the art that came out of the War. Pick up one of the following to begin appreciating this cultural era anew.

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ART & PHOTOGRAPHY

The American Heritage Century Collection of Civil War Art – Stephen W. Sears

The Civil War and American Art – Eleanor Jones Harvey

The Civil War in Color: A Photographic Reenactment of the War Between the States – John C. Guntzelman

An Illustrated History of the Civil War: Images of an American Tragedy – William J. Miller

Images from the Storm: 300 Civil War Images from the Author of “Eye of the Storm” – Robert Knox Sneden

Killing Ground: Photographs of the Civil War and the Changing American Landscape – John Huddleston

Mathew Brady: Portraits of a Nation – Robert Wilson

Mathew Brady’s Illustrated History of the Civil War, 1861-65, and the Causes that Led up to the Great Conflict – Benson J. Lossing

Timothy O’Sullivan, America’s Forgotten Photographer: The Life and Work of the Brilliant Photographer Whose Camera Recorded the American Scene from the Battlefields of the Civil War to the Frontiers of the West – James David Horan

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WRITING (POETRY, LITERATURE, JOURNALISM)

Junius and Albert’s Adventures in the Confederacy: A Civil War Odyssey – Peter Carlson

The Blue and the Gray: The Best Poems of the Civil War – Claudius Meade Capps

The Civil War: The First Year Told By Those Who Lived It

The Civil War: The Second Year Told By Those Who Lived It

The Civil War: The Third Year Told By Those Who Lived It

Disarming the Nation: Women’s Writing and the American Civil War – Elizabeth Young

From Battlefields Rising: How the Civil War Transformed American Literature – Randall Fuller

To Fight Aloud Is Very Brave: American Poetry and the Civil War – Faith Barrett

War No More: The Anti-War Impulse, 1861-1914 – Cynthia Wachtell

“Words for the Hour:” A New Anthology of American Civil War Poetry – edited by Faith Barrett and Christanne Miller

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MUSIC

The Battle Hymn of the Republic: A Biography of the Song That Marches On – John Stauffer and Benjamin Soskis

Civil War Classics – Jay Ungar (CD)

Divided and United: The Songs of the Civil War (CD)

Johnny Whistletrigger: Civil War Songs from the Western Border  (CD)

Lincoln and the Music of the Civil War – Kenneth A. Bernard

Music of the Civil War – Americus Brass Band (CD)

Rebel in the Woods – Cathy Barton  (CD)

Songs of the Civil War (CD)

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