- Book Notes
Hatemail: Anti-Semitism on Picture Postcards. By Salo Aizenberg. (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2013. Pp. 248. $31.95 paper)
Salo Aizenberg’s collection of over 250 anti-Semitic postcards from around the world is visually stunning, while also providing historical context and translations for the reader. Focusing on the heyday of [End Page 331] the penny postcard, from the 1890s to the 1940s, Hatemail argues that to understand anti-Semitism, one must look at how the ideas were exchanged in the open. By featuring postcards from around the Western world and well before the rise of the Nazis in Germany, Aizenberg’s collection also highlights that anti-Semitism was an international phenomenon.
Confederate Generals in the Trans-Mississippi, Vol. 1. By Lawrence Lee Hewitt, Arthur W. Bergeron Jr., and Thomas E. Schott, eds. (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2013. Pp. 302. $54.95 cloth)
This volume consists of eight essays on Confederate generals and seeks to “provide an expanded perspective on Confederate military leadership.” The essays argue against the notion that the trans-Mississippi region was the dumping ground for generals who failed in the East and the backwater of Civil War historiography. Instead, the authors show that Confederate generals in the West were native trans-Mississippians who creatively handled the rough terrain, unpredictable weather, and lack of infrastructure. The essays provide a welcome corrective to Civil War military leadership scholarship and highlight the contributions of unknown and little-known generals to the South’s campaigns in the trans-Mississippi West.
Narrative of James Williams, An American Slave. By Hank Trent, ed. (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2013. Pp. 272. $45.00 cloth; $45.00 ebook)
For decades, James Williams’s narrative was deemed a fraud by scholars, because historians were unable to verify Williams’ identity or the owners he named in his book. Now, due to extensive research in census data, runaway slave advertisements, and estate inventories, Hank Trent has successfully proven that James Williams was indeed [End Page 332] an escaped slave, although he embellished much of his story to divert attention from bounty hunters. Narrative of James Williams includes the original publication, notes from Trent, and appendices of his research findings.
John Floyd: The Life and Letters of a Frontier Surveyor. By Neal O. Hammon, ed. (Louisville: Butler Books, 2013. Pp. 298. $19.99 paper)
Neal Hammon’s John Floyd is a collection of letters written by Floyd, the deputy surveyor of Fincastle County, Virginia, in the late eighteenth century. Floyd surveyed most of what is now Kentucky and West Virginia, corresponded with officials and influential settlers, and survived the early western frontier. Hammon’s collection is organized by year and includes a well-researched introduction and a number of appendices. The letters and appendices provide a window into early Kentucky and the challenges of establishing the commonwealth.
Lincoln and the U.S. Colored Troops. By John David Smith. (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2013. Pp. 168. $24.95 cloth; $24.95 ebook)
In this edition of the Concise Lincoln Library, John David Smith explores the ramifications of President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. Often only viewed as the freeing of slaves, the Emancipation Proclamation also allowed freed slaves and free men of color to join the United States Colored Troops (U.S.C.T.). Smith argues that the Emancipation Proclamation was “unquestionably a revolutionary military move” (p. 3). His concise volume explores Lincoln’s transformation from opposing the enlistment of black soldiers to his creation of the U.S.C.T. and the aftermath of the Civil War for African American troops. [End Page 333]
Lincoln and the Union Governors. By William C. Harris. (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2013. Pp. 184. $24.95 cloth; $24.95 ebook)
Another new edition to the Concise Lincoln Library, Lincoln and the Union Governors explores the roles of the fifty-nine men who led the twenty-five Union states during the Civil War. William C. Harris argues “modern historians and students of the Civil War have not given proper credit to the contribution that the Union governors made in winning the war and preserving the nation” (p. 1). Without the Union governors...