Women and the American Civil War: An Annotated Bibliography (review)
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Women and the American Civil War: An Annotated Bibliography. By Theresa McDevitt. Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 2003. ISBN 0-313-32105-1. Indexes. Pp. viii, 245. $64.95.

This book is, in a word, excellent. Dr. Theresa McDevitt, a government documents librarian at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, has done for the study of Civil War women what Charles Dornbusch, author of the classic Military Bibliography of the Civil War, did for the study of Civil War regiments. She's made it a lot easier.

As anyone who has attempted to study the various experiences and activities of women during the Civil War will attest, finding published period works other than Mary Chesnut's diary and secondary works other than Mary Massey's Bonnet Brigades can be a frustrating task, even though the efforts and deeds of women during the Civil War were both applauded and recorded in the postwar era, and one intuits that there must be something more out there. It turns out that there is a lot more. McDevitt's exhaustive research produced nearly eight hundred published sources (both traditional and Internet-based), all of which appear in her bibliography accompanied by thoughtful and critical annotation.

The book opens with a brief yet thorough overview of the work and lives of women during the Civil War. This history suggests the diversity and richness of materials available to modern scholars, particularly now that McDevitt has dug them out and arranged them so beautifully. The bibliography is divided into ten chapters, each with useful prefatory material followed by the alphabetically arranged bibliographic entries pertaining to the subject of each chapter: reference works; introductory works and anthologies; soldier's aid; medical and relief services; aid to freedpeople; economic challenges and opportunities; women in the war zone; spies, scouts, smugglers, and raiders; women in camp; and other topics not fully explored. McDevitt truly leaves no subject unexamined and no stone unturned. North and South, Union and Confederate, are fully represented.

Women and the American Civil War: An Annotated Bibliography is a remarkable achievement, and a much-needed addition to bibliographies both in gender studies and in military history.

DeAnne Blanton
National Archives and Records Administration
Washington, D.C.
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