New Year Update

A Merry Christmas and and Happy New Year,  Image number:SIL7-189-01

Greetings all!

Some of you have probably noticed there hasn’t been much activity here lately. I’m sorry about that but other commitments have been piling up and I just haven’t had time to keep things humming along here on Civil War Pop. I already mentioned my new job (more about that below) but I also have two book contributions due over the next six month. One will stay a secret for now, but the other is a chapter for a textbook on Music and Warfare in American History. Read More


New Job!

Image result for abraham lincoln presidential library and museum

I’m happy to announce that this week I started a new job as Research Historian for the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. While I’ll miss my colleagues at The Papers of Abraham Lincoln, I’m delighted to enter a position that allows me to do more public history and help promote this amazing institution. I was involved with a few programs and exhibits at ALPLM during my time with the Papers (including the a very cool exhibit on the Cubs/Cardinals rivalry coming this spring), and it really opened my eyes to the potential for places like this to educate the public and spark interest in the past. It’ll be great doing that same kind of stuff full time. Read More

Another Look at The Better Angels

Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association

As some of you know, I have the privilege of serving as editor for the Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association. I’ve only overseen 5 issues so far but, during that time, I’ve tried to expand the journal’s scope by incorporating various aspects of Lincoln’s life and legacy. One of the things I’m most proud of appeared in last summer’s issue. It’s is a roundtable featuring four scholars giving their opinions on The Better Angels. I reviewed the film on this blog back in September, but the roundtable gives a much fuller analysis and just became available on the journal’s website.

I tried to get four scholars with different academic backgrounds and points of view and that really paid off. William E. Bartelt, Jackie Hogan, Megan Kate Nelson, and John Stauffer not only approach The Better Angels from very different directions, they also disagree on the basic fact of whether or not the film is any good—with the boys generally liking it and the ladies largely unimpressed. Regardless, all four give interesting takes. Since I wasn’t editor when Spielberg’s Lincoln came out—or ever Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter—here’s hoping I’ll get additional opportunities to put together similar pieces in the future


A Whole Year Already!


It seems I started this little blog only yesterday, but lo and behold I’ve been at it for an entire year! Thanks to everyone who’s dropped by—whoever you are and however much you read—and a special thanks to those who helped spread the word, especially Kevin Levin over at Civil War Memory and my old buddy Glenn Brasher at History Headlines. 2015 was a bit of an experiment, but I think things worked out pretty well and most of you have responded positively. My plan was to bounce around different subjects, genres, and art forms, and it’s been interesting to see how my audience had changed or grown depending on the subject. As a general rule, the posts that aren’t main “entries” tend to do better, in part because they’re more likely to get “shared” and retweeted. Some of my biggest surprises were the duds (you guys aren’t nearly as interested in John Wayne and D. W. Giffith as I expected) but that comes with the territory. So, I thought it might be fun to do a little year in review by listing my 10 most popular posts in ascending order. Enjoy, and please keep reading and commenting in 2016! Read More

BBC Radio’s Civil War Music Doc is Great!

During the past two weeks, BBC Radio 2 ran a documentary on Civil War music and I strongly recommend it. It gives a good mix of narration by Kris Kristofferson, commentary from experts, and great renditions songs from and inspired by the war. The first part covers music during the war and the second examines its influence on music history and Civil War memory. It brings a great deal of depth to the subject and the producer should be commended for the amount of work that clearly went into the project. Civil War historians, buffs, and even those just interested in music or history should really give it a listen. I’m really honored to have been a part of it.

Part 1

Part 2

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