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The Kent State University Press

The Kent State University Press

Website: http://www.kentstateuniversitypress.com/

The Kent State University Press publishes scholarly books in the fields of history, including military, U.S. diplomatic, Civil War, American cultural, women's, and art; Ohio regional studies; American and British literature and criticism; and biography.

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The Kent State University Press

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Citizens and Communities

Civil War History Readers, Volume 4

For sixty years the journal Civil War History has presented the best original scholarship in the study of America’s greatest struggle. Civil War History Readers reintroduce the most influential articles published in the journal. From military command, strategy and tactics, to political leadership, race, abolitionism, the draft, and women’s issues, as well as the war’s causes, its aftermath, and Reconstruction, Civil War History has published fresh and provocative analyses of the determining aspects of America’s “middle period.”

In this fourth volume of the series, editor J. Matthew Gallman includes sixteen pioneering essays by Daniel E. Sutherland , Gary Gallagher, James Marten, Alice Fahs, and other scholars that examine the Civil War home front. Topics include voluntarism; science and medicine; communities at war; recruitment and conscription; welfare, dissent, and nationalism; and literature and society. Gallman’s introduction assesses the significance of each article in providing a clearer understanding of the era.

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Civil War History

Vol. 1 (1955) through current issue

Civil War History is the foremost scholarly journal of the sectional conflict in the United States, focusing on social, cultural, economic, political, and military issues from antebellum America through Reconstruction. Articles have featured research on slavery, abolitionism, women and war, Abraham Lincoln, fiction, national identity, and various aspects of the Northern and Southern military. Published quarterly in March, June, September, and December.

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The Civilian Conservation Corps and the Construction of the Virginia Kendall Reserve, 1933-1939

In the spring of 1933, the United States was in the midst of the worst economic calamity it had ever experienced. Newly inaugurated president Franklin D. Roosevelt asked Congress to approve funding allowing legions of out-of-work young men to find employment reclaiming and developing the nation’s natural spaces. The Civilian Conservation Corps became a reality in April 1933 and forever changed the way the American people viewed their parks, rivers, lakes, and other natural areas.

This book tells the story of the CCC’s construction of the Virginia Kendall Reserve, which today is part of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, in Northeast Ohio. Four hundred and thirty acres of farmland came under the control of the Akron Metropolitan Park District and its director-secretary, Harold Wagner, who immediately applied to the federal government to establish a CCC camp there with the aim of creating a natural recreation landscape open to the public.

Author Kenneth Bindas and seven of his students from Kent State University drew upon a wide variety of government documents, oral histories, and other primary sources to place the construction of the Reserve within the larger context of modernism and the emerging 1930s movements whose goals were to protect and open up natural areas. As a case study, the construction of the Virginia Kendall Reserve provides an example of the design, manipulation, and construction used to create so many Civilian Conservation Corps environments.

The book is filled with historic photographs showing the process of construction, and contemporary photos by Marina Vladova visually detail the lush nature that families, hikers, runners, bikers, and naturalists enjoy today.

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A Colony Sprung from Hell

Pittsburgh and the Struggle for Authority on the Western Pennsylvania Frontier, 1744-1794

The early settlement of the region around Pittsburgh was characterized by a messy collision of personal, provincial, national, and imperial interests. Driven by the efforts of Europeans, Pennsylvanians, Virginians, and Indians, almost everyone attempted to manipulate the clouded political jurisdiction of the region. A Colony Sprung from Hell traces this complex struggle. The events and episodes that make up the story highlight the difficulties of creating and consolidating authority along the frontier, where the local population’s acceptance or denial of authority determined the extent to which any government could impose its will. Ultimately, what was at stake was the nature of authority itself.

Author Daniel P. Barr demonstrates that deep divisions marked efforts to exercise power over the western Pennsylvania frontier and limited the effectiveness of such attempts. They developed roughly along provincial lines, owing to a fierce competition between Pennsylvania and Virginia to incorporate the region into their colonies. This jurisdictional dispute permeated many social and political levels, impacting all those who sought power and influence along the western Pennsylvania frontier. Individuals, businesses, provincial governments, and British policymakers competed for jurisdiction in the political and legal arenas, while migrants, settlers, and Indians opposed one another on the ground in a contest that was far more confrontational and violent. Although the participants and the nature of the conflict changed over time, the fundamental question—who was going to make the important decisions regarding the region—remained unsettled and unanswered, resulting in a consistent pattern of discord and contention.

A Colony Sprung from Hell is an important contribution to the understanding of power and authority along the late colonial frontier.

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Conflict and Command

Civil War History Readers, Volume 1

Fifteen groundbreaking essays from Albert Castel, Gary Gallagher, Mark Neely, Richard M. McMurry, and others

For more than fifty years the journal Civil War History has presented the best original scholarship in the study of America’s greatest struggle. The Kent State University Press is pleased to present a multivolume series reintroducing the most influential of the more than 500 articles published in the journal. From military command, strategy, and tactics, to political leadership, abolitionism, the draft, and women’s issues, from the war’s causes to its aftermath and Reconstruction, Civil War History has published pioneering and provocative analyses of the determining aspects of the Middle Period.

In this inaugural volume historian John T. Hubbell, editor of Civil War History for thirty-five years until 2000, has selected fifteen seminal articles that treat military matters in a variety of contexts, including leadership, strategy, tactics, execution, and outcomes. He begins the volume with a general introduction and introduces each piece with an assessment of its enduring contribution to our understanding.

Those with an interest in the officers and men, logistics and planning, and execution and outcomes of the battles in America’s bloodiest conflict will welcome this essential collection.


Was the Civil War a Total War? by Mark Neely Jr.; A “Face of Battle” Needed: An Assessment of Motives and Men in Civil War Historiography by Marvin R. Cain; The Confederacy’s First Shot by Grady McWhiney; The Professionalization of George B. McClellan and Early Field Command by Edward Hagerman; McClellan and Halleck at War: The Struggle for the Union War Effort in the West, November 1861–March 1862 by Ethan S. Rafuse; Pinkerton and McClellan: Who Deceived Whom? by Edwin C. Fishel; Jefferson Davis’s Pursuit of Ambition: The Attractive Features of Alternative Decisions by Richard E. Beringer; “The Enemy at Richmond”: Joseph E. Johnston and the Confederate Government by Richard M. McMurry; Joseph E. Johnston and the Virginia Railways, 1861–62 by Jeffrey Lash; An Old Fashioned General in a Modern War? Robert E. Lee as Confederate General by Gary W. Gallagher; Marse Robert and the Fevers: A Note on the General as Strategist and on Medical Ideas as a Factor in Civil War Decision Making by Richard M. McMurry; The Army of Northern Virginia in May 1864: A Crisis of High Command by Gary W. Gallagher; Everyman’s War: A Rich and Poor Man’s Fight in Lee’s Army by Joseph T. Glatthaar; Mars and the Reverend Longstreet: Or, Attacking and Dying in the Civil War by Albert Castel; Who Whipped Whom? Confederate Defeat Reexamined by Grady McWhiney

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Conflicting Memories on the “River of Death”

The Chickamauga Battlefield and the Spanish-American War, 1863–1933

How veterans of two wars constructed contrasting meanings for one sacred landscapeOn September 19 and 20, 1863, the Union Army of the Cumberland and the Confederate Army of Tennessee fought a horrific battle along Chickamauga Creek in northern Georgia. Although the outcome of this chaotic slugfest was a stunning Confederate victory, the campaign ended with a resounding Union triumph at Chattanooga. The ill-fated Army of Tennessee never won another major battle, while the Army of the Cumberland was ultimately separated from its beloved commander, George H. Thomas.

Beginning with an account of the fierce fighting in 1863, author Bradley Keefer examines how the veterans of both sides constructed memories of this battle during the three decades leading to the creation of the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park. By preserving this most prominent battlefield, the former foes created a sacred, commemorative landscape that memorialized mutual valor, sacrifice, and sectional reconciliation.

Three years after the park’s 1895 dedication, the War Department made the Chickamauga battlefield the main training site for volunteer troops during the Spanish-American War and temporarily renamed it Camp George H. Thomas. Firsthand accounts by the camp’s soldiers initially reinforced the heroic connections between the Civil War and the war with Spain. However, rapidly deteriorating conditions at the camp contributed to a typhoid fever epidemic that killed over 700 men. The resulting scandal created a rift between the Civil War veterans, led by park founder Henry V. Boynton, and the disgruntled Spanish-American War soldiers who claimed that the park was unhealthy, the War Department negligent, and the deaths unnecessary.

The aging Civil War veterans worked tirelessly to restore the park to its former condition by obliterating the remnants of Camp George H. Thomas and obscuring its place in memory. For the veterans of the Spanish-American War, the ambiguous memories surrounding their ordeal at Camp George H. Thomas reflected their inability to make a significant dent in the nation’s collective consciousness. The neglect and victimization that many Spanish and Philippine war veterans felt they had endured at the camp continued well into the twentieth century as they and their accomplishments were gradually overshadowed by the legacy of the Civil War and the epic significance of the two World Wars.

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Confronting the Odds

African American Entrepeneurship in Cleveland, Ohio

An updated and revised edition of the award-winning study

The history of African American entrepreneurship has produced a number of studies of economic development on the national level, but very few have examined this growth at the local level. Confronting the Odds was written to bridge that gap, and Bessie House-Soremekun provides this historical analysis of African American entrepreneurship in Cleveland, Ohio, from the early 1800s to the present. Additionally, in examining these historical and current trends, House-Soremekun presents brief biographies of several successful entrepreneurs, among them George C. Fraser, best-selling author; Robert P. Madison, internationally acclaimed architect; Leroy Ozanne, founder of Ozanne Construction Company; and Rachel Y. Daniel, Chief Customer Experience Officer, Synergy International Limited, Inc. and Decision Point Marketing and Research, Inc.

House-Soremekun’s statistical analysis of the factors that contributed to the success of African American businesses in Cleveland is supported by extensive research, and her policy recommendations about how entrepreneurship could be stimulated through public and private programs are thought provoking. Confronting the Odds documents life histories of business owners, compares African American male and female business owners, and offers insights into why some businesses succeed and others fail.

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Conspicuous Gallantry

The Civil War and Reconstruction Letters of James W. King, 11th Michigan Volunteer Infantry

The Union states of what is now the Midwest have received far less attention from historians than those of the East, and much of Michigan’s Civil War story remains untold. The eloquent letters of James W. King shed light on a Civil War regiment that played important roles in the battles of Stones River, Chickamauga, and Missionary Ridge. King enlisted in the 11th Michigan in 1861 as a private and rose to the rank of quartermaster sergeant. His correspondence continues into the era of Reconstruction, when he tried his hand at raising cotton in Tennessee and Alabama and found himself caught up in the social and political upheavals of the postwar South.

King went off to war as an obscure nineteen year old farm boy, but he was anything but average. His letters to Sarah Jane Babcock, his future wife, vividly illustrate the plight and perspective of the rank­and­file Union infantryman while revealing the innermost thoughts of an articulate, romantic, and educated young man.

King’s wartime correspondence explores a myriad of issues faced by the common Federal soldier: the angst, uncertainty, and hope associated with long distance courtship; the scourge of widespread and often fatal diseases; the rapid evolution of views on race and slavery; the doldrums of camp life punctuated with the horrors of combat and its aftermath; the gnawing anxiety while waiting for mail from home; the incessant gambling, drunkenness, and profanity of his comrades; and the omnipresent risk of death or crippling disability as the cost of performing his duty: to preserve the Union.

Through meticulous research and careful editing, Eric R. Faust presents a story that does not cease with King’s muster out, or even with Lee’s surrender at Appomattox. King’s postwar correspondence illuminates the struggles of a soldier disabled by wounds, trying to find his place in a civilian world forever changed by war. Like thousands of other Northern soldiers, King traveled south to raise cotton.

The letters he penned on the plantation defy the timeworn stereotype of carpetbaggers as ruthless opportunists who deprived the South of its capital and dignity after the war. A kind twist of fate boosted King to prominence in his home state as editor of Michigan’s foremost Republican newspaper and set him on a path to national notoriety. Through King’s remarkable rise to the national stage, the reader gains insight into the heated political climate of the Reconstruction era and the Gilded Age, and more generally into the deeply complex legacy of the American Civil War.

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The Dead Eat Everything

“This book is a document of a particular world, real, wrenched from the poet’s life, as if written with a gun to his head or a spike through his heart. Reading it is like opening a damp newspaper wrapped around a big fish just caught, fins glistening, scales shining, one rhymed eye open and looking right at you, daring you to eat the whole thing.” —Dorianne Laux, author of The Book of Men

“The Dead Eat Everything, Michael Mlekoday’s furious first collection, is a cypher of old-school curses, elegy, and wordplay that snaps like gunplay. The book begins with a self-portrait when ‘summer was one wet weapon after another’ and doesn’t stop. Not for a power outage, Catholic mass, or sewer steam. Not for a ‘four-finger ring that says DOPE.’ Not for the city that repeats itself like breakbeats in the head. The poems in this book are as relentless as a Minneapolis winter. And when the speaker says, ‘Scientists have proven that the mouth is the last part of the body to die,’ we understand that the mouth hangs on just to speak poems like these.”—Adrian Matejka, author of The Big Smoke

“It’s easy to forget—because of the brute beauty of the language; because of lines like ‘I have made gods / of my skinned hands’; because of the whiplash brilliance roped through these poems—that deeply, ultimately, this is a book of mourning, of sorrow, of loss: for a dad, a Baba, a city, a home. But, to boot, Michael Mlekoday’s The Dead Eat Everything is a book of magic: watch sorrows be converted to music. And music, don’t forget, makes you dance. Makes you move. Moves you.” —Ross Gay, author of Bringing the Shovel Down

“The Dead Eat Everything is a haunting—an unsharpened visitation of memories. Each poem unfolds itself as if we are just now remembering stories told to us long ago, simultaneously new and exciting while comforting in their familiarity. Mlekoday’s debut collection glows. Let it. Let it light the way home.”—Sierra DeMulder, author of New Shoes on a Dead Horse

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Democracy and the American Civil War

Race and African Americans in the Nineteenth Century

In 1865, after four tumultuous years of fighting, Americans welcomed the opportunity to return to a life of normalcy. President Abraham Lincoln issued his emancipation decree in January 1863 and had set the stage for what he hoped would be a smooth transition from war to peace with the announcement of his reconstruction program in December 1863 and with his call of “malice toward none and charity for all” in his Second Inaugural Address in March 1865. Lincoln’s dream of completing the process of reconstructing the nation was cut short just one month later by the hand of an assassin.

The essays in this volume—by Adams and Hudson along with Stanley Harrold, John David Smith, Mitchell Snay, and Fay Yarbrough—represent an exemplary collection on the importance of democracy and race during and after America’s most devastating conflict. Ranging from a consideration of antebellum abolitionists to the racial policies adopted by Native American tribes that had allied with the Confederacy to the ambiguous legacies of Reconstruction, these chapters are thoroughly researched, persuasively argued, and beautifully crafted. Democracy and the American Civil War is a compelling examination of black Americans and their quest for citizenship rights in the face of violence and ostracism.

As volume coeditor Leonne Hudson points out in his introduction, Lincoln’s actions were significant steps on the road toward the fulfillment of the democratic tenets contained in the foundational documents of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. By the end of the Civil War, President Lincoln had come to realize that individual freedom was an inalienable right. Furthermore, he believed that in a democratic nation all men were not only entitled to freedom but to equality as well. Although African Americans had played an unforgettable role in helping to preserve the Union, they found their path to full democracy littered with political and legal obstacles that would bedevil them for decades. This collection enriches our understanding of democracy, race, and the Civil War, and it reminds us that the historical importance of democracy and the complexity of race are topics with which we should continue to engage.

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