Bruce Levine


Bruce Levine has emerged as one of the Civil War's premier historians, an esteemed professor, and a savvy author who brings the nineteenth century alive in the pages of his histories of Emancipation and the war's social and economic impact upon the United States. His latest, The Fall of the House of Dixie: The Civil War and the Social Revolution That Transformed the South is a riveting look at the 1860s American South, before and after the decline of the Confederacy. This week, Levine recommends three books that have shaped his studies and share his spirit of inquiry into the origins of modern America.


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The Imperiled Union: Essays on the Background of the Civil War

By Kenneth M. Stampp


"Kenneth Stampp (1912-2009) was a (maybe the) giant among Civil War historians of his generation. He led the scholarly assault on then-influential schools of thought that 'whitewashed' slavery and/or depicted the war as an unnecessary one produced by a 'blundering generation' of politicians.  Some essays in this collection -- notably 'Lincoln and the Secession Crisis' and 'The Irrepressible Conflict' -- contain more wisdom about the war's actual origins than can be found in many full-length books."



Free At Last: A Documentary History of Slavery, Freedom, and the Civil War

Edited by Ira Berlin, Barbara J. Fields, Stephen F. Miller, Joseph P. Reidy, and Leslie S. Rowland


"Since 1982, the Freedmen and Southern Society Project, based at the University of Maryland, has produced one fascinating volume after another that brim over with original documents and insightful essays that illuminate the destruction of slavery in the U.S. Free at Last contains a choice selection of those documents that allow the people of the time to speak to us."



The Republic in Crisis, 1848-1861

By John Ashworth


"In this outstanding study, the author gives us a meticulous and very readable account of how the major political ideologies of the antebellum era took shape and how each helped bring on the Civil War. No one has treated this important subject with as much thoroughness and subtlety."

July 25: On this day in 1834 Samuel Taylor Coleridge died of heart disease at the age of sixty-one.

Crime fiction legends Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly discuss the new book that unites their beloved sleuths Patrick Kenzie and Harry Bosch.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Paradise and Elsewhere

Canadian short story marvel Kathy Page emerges as the Alice Munro of the supernatural from these heartfelt tales of shapeshifting swimmers, mild-mannered cannibals, and personality-shifting viruses transmitted through kisses.


When a persuasive pastor arrives in a sleepy farm town, his sage influence has otherworldly results (talking sheep, a mayor who walks on water). But can he pull off the miracle of finding kindly local Liz Denny the love of her life?  Small wonder looms large in this charmer from Andre Alexis.

The Hundred-Year House

When a poetry scholar goes digging through the decrepit estate of his wife's family to uncover a bygone arts colony's strange mysteries, he awakens a tenacious monster: his mother-in-law. A wickedly funny take on aging aristocracies from author Rebecca Makkai (The Borrower).