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The Memoir of Johnnie Wickersham
Johnnie Wickersham was fourteen when he ran away from his Missouri home to fight for the Confederacy. Fifty years after the war, he wrote his memoir at the request of family and friends and distributed it privately in 1915. Boy Soldier of the Confederacy: The Memoir of Johnnie Wickersham offers not only a rare look into the Civil War through the eyes of a child but also a coming-of-age story.
Edited by Kathleen Gorman, the volume presents a new introduction and annotations that explain how the war was glorified over time, the harsh realities suppressed in the nation’s collective memory. Gorman describes a man who nostalgically remembers the boy he once was. She maintains that the older Wickersham who put pen to paper decades later likely glorified and embellished the experience, accepting a polished interpretation of his own past.
Wickersham recounts that during his first skirmish he was "wild with the ecstasy of it all" and notes that he was "too young to appreciate the danger." The memoir traces his participation in an October 1861 Confederate charge against Springfield, Missouri; his fight at the battle of Pea Ridge in March 1862; his stay at a plantation he calls Fairyland; and the battle of Corinth.
The volume details Wickersham’s assignment as an orderly for General Sterling Price, his capture at Vicksburg in 1863, his parole, and later his service with General John Bell Hood for the 1864 fighting around Atlanta. Wickersham also describes the Confederate surrender in New Orleans, the reconciliation of the North and the South, and his own return and reunification with his family.
While Gorman’s incisive introduction and annotations allow readers to consider how memories can be affected by the passage of time, Wickersham’s boy-turned-soldier tale offers readers an engaging narrative, detailing the perceptions of a child on the cusp of adulthood during a turbulent period in our nation’s history.
The Rise and Fall of the National Afro-American Council
Broken Brotherhood: The Rise and Fall of the National Afro-American Council gives a comprehensive account of the National Afro-American Council, the first truly nationwide U.S. civil rights organization, which existed from 1898 to 1908. Based on exhaustive research, the volume chronicles the Council’s achievements and its annual meetings and provides portraits of its key leaders.
Led by four of the most notable African American leaders of the time—journalist T. Thomas Fortune, Bishop Alexander Walters, educator Booker T. Washington, and Congressman George Henry White—the Council persevered for a decade despite structural flaws and external pressures that eventually led to its demise in 1908.
Author Benjamin R. Justesen provides historical context for the Council’s development during an era of unprecedented growth in African American organizations. Justesen establishes the National Afro-American Council as the earliest national arena for discussions of critical social and political issues affecting African Americans and the single most important united voice lobbying for protection of the nation’s largest minority. In a period marked by racial segregation, widespread disfranchisement, and lynching violence, the nonpartisan council helped establish two more enduring successor organizations, providing core leadership for both the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the National Urban League.
Broken Brotherhood traces the history of the Council and the complicated relationships among key leaders from its creation in Rochester in 1898 to its last gathering in Baltimore in 1907, drawing on both private correspondence and contemporary journalism to create a balanced historical portrait. Enhanced by thirteen illustrations, the volume also provides intriguing details about the ten national gatherings, describes the Council’s unsuccessful attempt to challenge disfranchisement before the U.S. Supreme Court, and sheds light on the gradual breakdown of Republican solidarity among African American leaders in the first decade of the twentieth century.
Theory and Practice for the Beginning Playwright
In Building Your Play: Theory and Practice for the Beginning Playwright, David Rush provides fundamental tools, strategies, and examples to help the novice playwright keep his or her play from being dull, confusing, or ineffective. A glossary of terms is included.
Ulysses S. Grant's Last Campaign
Early in 1885 Americans learned that General Ulysses S. Grant was writing his memoirs in a desperate race against time due to an incurable cancer. Newspaper readers followed the dramatic contest for six months, and the hearts of Americans were touched by the general’s last battle. In this book Thomas M. Pitkin tells the story of the last campaign of the general who was called “the great captain of the Union’s salvation.”
Cultural Politics and the Poetics of Presence
"Capturing the Beat Moment" examines the assumptions the Beats made about the moment and their attempt to “capture” this “immediacy,” focusing on the works of Kerouac and Ginsberg as well as on those of women and African American Beat writers.
Paul Carus of Open Court
"I am not a common atheist; I am an atheist who loves God."—Paul Carus, "The God of Science," 1904
In the summer of 1880, while teaching at the military academy of the Royal Corps of Cadets of Saxony in Dresden, Paul Carus published a brief pamphlet denying the literal truth of scripture and describing the Bible as a great literary work comparable to the Odyssey.
This unremarkable document was Carus’s first step in a wide-ranging intellectual voyage in which he traversed philosophy, science, religion, mathematics, history, music, literature, and social and political issues. The Royal Corps, Carus later reported, found his published views "not in harmony with the Christian spirit, in accordance with which the training and education of the Corps of Cadets should be conducted." And so the corps offered the young teacher the choice of asking "most humbly for forgiveness for daring to have an opinion of my own and to express it, perhaps even promise to publish nothing more on religious matters, or to give up my post. I chose the latter. . . . There was thus no other choice for me but to emigrate and, trusting in my own powers, to establish for myself a new home." His resignation was effective on Easter Sunday, 1881.
Carus toured the Rhine, lived briefly in Belgium, and taught in a military college in England to learn English well enough to "thrive in the United States." By late 1884 or early 1885 he was on his way to the New World. Thriving in the United States proved more difficult than it had in England, but before 1885 ended he had published his first philosophical work in English, Monism and Meliorism. The book was not widely read, but it did reach Edward C. Hegeler, a La Salle, Illinois, zinc processor who became his father-in-law as well as his ideological and financial backer.
Established in La Salle, Carus began the work that would place him among the prominent American philosophers of his day and make the Open Court Publishing Company a leading publisher of philosophical, scientific, and religious books. He edited The Open Court and The Monist, offering the finest view of Oriental thought and religion then available in the West, and sought unsuccessfully to bring about a second World Parliament of Religions. He befriended physicist-philosopher Ernst Mach. For eleven years he employed D. T. Suzuki, who later became a great Zen Buddhist teacher. He published more articles by Charles S. Peirce, now viewed as one of the great world philosophers, in The Monist than appeared in any other publication.
Biographer Harold Henderson concludes his study of this remarkable man: "Whenever anyone is so fired with an idea that he or she can’t wait to write it down, there the spirit of Paul Carus remains, as he would have wished, active in the world."
A Legal History Documentary Reader
Edited collection of primary sources from America’s transformative Civil War and Reconstruction period that document the profound legal changes that took place during the Civil War era but also highlight how law, society, and politics inextricably mixed and set American legal development on particular paths that were not predetermined.