Reading and Discussion Civil War

Last Updated 4/30/2013 4:20:04 PM

Civil War Related Reading and Discussion Offerings

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Lincoln: Bicentennial of His Birth, 2009 — 3 sessions

Abraham Lincoln would have turned 200 in 2009. Celebrate with an in-depth look at the man behind the president in two celebrated biographies and Lincoln’s own words.

  • Lincoln (Pulitzer Prize-winner 1996), David Herbert Donald

  • Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln,
    Doris Kearns Goodwin

  • Selections from The Portable Lincoln, Andrew Delbanco, ed. 10

Making Sense of the Civil War — 5 sessions

Developed by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association, this Civil War sesquicentennial commemorative Reading and Discussion series uses works of historical fiction, primary documents such as speeches, diaries, memoirs, biographies, and short stories, as well as current research to examine a broad range of perspectives in an exploration of the American Civil War.

  • March, by Geraldine Brooks

  • Crossroads of Freedom: Antietam, by James McPherson

  • America's War: Talking About the Civil War and Emancipation on Their 150th Anniversaries, a new anthology edited by Edward L. Ayers and published by NEH and ALA

Our Civil War Legacy — 5 sessions

As we approach the 150th anniversary of the Civil War it makes sense to reexamine the legacy of the war that tore the United States apart. Why was the war really fought? Discuss the crucial final month of the war and how, but for a handful of important decisions and a good deal of luck, the outcome — of the War and of the country — might have been very different. How did the Civil War make us think differently about death and suffering? About race? And why do we continue to reenact an event that caused so much pain?

  • The Legacy of the Civil War, Robert Penn Warren

  • The Month That Saved America, Jay Winik, April 1865

  • This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War, Drew Gilpin Faust

  • Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory,
    David Blight

  • Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War, Tony Horwitz

Influential First Ladies — 5 sessions

First ladies historically may have lingered in the shadows of their husbands, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t wield considerable influence and authority — sometimes, even, virtually running the show. Rediscover presidential history through the power behind the throne.

  • Dearest Friend (about Abigail Adams), Lynne Withee

  • A Perfect Union: Dolley Madison and the Creation of the American Nation, Catherine Allgor

  • Mary Todd Lincoln: A Biography, Jean H. Baker

  • Edith and Woodrow: The Wilson White House, Phyllis Lee Levin

  • Eleanor Roosevelt: Volume 2, The Defining Years, 1933-1938, Blanche Wiesen Cook

Seminal Statements of American Values — 5 sessions

Founding documents and landmark speeches help us to understand America’s operating principles and values — what they mean, how well we practice what we preach, and what relationship words have to action in good times and bad. Great series for groups who want short readings that pack a big punch.

  • Declaration of Independence

  • Constitution of the United States

  • Gettysburg Address, Abraham Lincoln

  • The Four Freedoms, Franklin Delano Roosevelt

  • I Have a Dream, Martin Luther King, Jr.

Slavery and the Civil War — 3 sessions; 15 sets

With the 150th anniversary of the Civil War beginning in 2011, what better time to undertake an intergenerational discussion of the root causes of the War, and the experience of soldiers on both sides?

  • To Be a Slave, Julius Lester

  • Nightjohn, Gary Paulsen

  • The Boys’ War: Confederate and Union Soldiers Talk about the Civil War, Jim Murphy

Learn how to book one of these Civil War programs or another Reading and Discussion offering.


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