Excerpt: Home Grown, by Isaac Campos

Yet despite today’s typical view of marijuana as a “soft” drug in comparison to, say, the opiates and cocaine, Mexicans of a century ago believed it to be perhaps the “hardest” drug of them all, one that triggered sudden paroxysms and delirious violence.

Interview: John Yow, author of “The Armchair Birder Goes Coastal”

In the book I own up to a special fondness for the little blue heron, but many of the birds I write about are just spectacular. Right up there with the spoonbills and avocets are the black-necked stilts, the wood storks, the snowy and great egrets, the anhingas—and the list goes on. Of course, I’m perfectly willing to confess that my favorite birds tend to be those I can actually pick out from the rest.

Christian McWhirter: Did They Get It Right?: Civil War Music in Popular Film

Glory is noteworthy as one of the few popular representations of the war to include African American music. The Civil War had a tremendous impact on black music but the songs created and sung by African Americans are rarely included in books and films. Although Burns makes use of black spirituals, even he does not incorporate those that were actually most popular among slaves, freedpeople, and USCTs.

90th Anniversary sale now includes biography and American studies books

Our 90th anniversary sale continues with new books added in biography and American studies. Save 50% and get free shipping on orders over $75. Sale continues on select books in Civil War, literature and literary studies, African American history, women’s studies, religious studies, and art, architecture, and craft.

Mary J. Henold: The Leadership Conference of Women Religious is the Scapegoat for Our Disobedience

I believe, at the root of this assault on the sisters’ autonomy, is a bewilderment and anger at the hierarchy’s loss of power over laywomen.

Jeff Broadwater: James Madison, Secular Humanist

James Madison won the presidency in a landslide in 1808, prevailed in a closer race in 1812, and left office as a revered elder statesman four years later. Among his most appealing traits was a lifelong commitment to religious freedom, but if we could raise him from the dead–never mind the Twenty-Second Amendment limiting presidents to two terms–his views on the separation of church and state might well keep him out of today’s White House.

Steven I. Levine & Michael H. Hunt: Civilian Casualties: Tactical Regrets and Strategic Hypocrisy

The reality is that the large-scale targeted killing of civilians has been an integral part of America’s military strategy for well over a century.

Celebrating Paul Green

Harnett County, North Carolina, celebrates native son and Pulitzer-Prize winning dramatist Paul Green this weekend with the Paul Green Festival. UNC Press is proud to publish many of Green’s plays, stories, and letters, including many books brought back into print recently through our Enduring Editions program.

Paul and Angela Knipple: We Are All Southerners Here

Everyone loves their mama and their grandmama, but we’ve always felt like mamas and grandmamas have a special place in the southern kitchen and the southern heart. That legacy of family as a source of strength is especially southern. We heard stories from so many people who have maintained a strong connection with their mothers and grandmothers despite being half a world away.

Excerpt: Into the Pulpit, by Elizabeth H. Flowers

On August 9, 1964, Watts Street Baptist Church in Durham, North Carolina, ordained Addie Davis to the gospel ministry—the first ordination of a woman by a Southern Baptist church. It came well ahead of many mainstream Protestant bodies and only one year after the publication of The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan.

Excerpt: The Peninsula Campaign & the Necessity of Emancipation, by Glenn David Brasher

Turning to the war, Davis confirmed reports that some slaves were armed and fighting for the South, but he assured his audience that it “was done solely on compulsion.” Having been a slave foreman, he perceptively compared their plight to that of slaves who “were often made to fill the place of whipping-master.” He maintained that the best way to prevent the South from continually taking military advantage of the enslaved community was to free the slaves so they could “go forth conquering.”

Excerpt: The Civil War in the West, by Earl J. Hess

The attack at Fort Donelson proved to be anything but easy. In fact, the Federals tackled a job that was far more difficult than taking Fort Henry.

Excerpt: Living the Revolution, by Jennifer Guglielmo

Dolly’s story is one of many that take us into the complex humanity of Italian immigrant women. She was anything but a victim. Throughout her life she embodied a full range of possibility. While her actions were at times controversial, she was decisive, savvy, and acted on her own behalf and in service of those in her community. It seems she learned this from her own mother Rosa, whose combined wisdom and ability to act was what saved her grandson’s life.

Excerpt: William Alexander Percy, by Benjamin E. Wise

Percy benefited from his position atop the racial and class hierarchies in the South, and he did much to perpetuate them.

Sarah S. Elkind: The Allure of an Inefficient Government

“Beltway politics” are not the only barrier to efficiency in government. Despite what they say, the American people have long preferred an inefficient federal government that they could shape rather than an efficient government that they could not.

Christian McWhirter: Musical Theft in the Civil War

Like the often-lamented vicious political rhetoric of modern politics, the phenomenon of using popular songs for political gain is nothing new. During the Civil War, politicians, military officials, and civilians frequently appropriated and revised popular songs for their own purposes. The primary difference is that today’s legal system is robust enough for songwriters and musicians to oppose such usage.

Interview: Jeff Broadwater on the legacy of James Madison

One of his predictions, however, seems on point. Madison wrote in the 1790s that if the federal government grew too much, Congress would be overwhelmed by its responsibilities, power would flow to the president, and presidential elections would become unseemly spectacles.

Excerpt: Thornton Dial, edtied by Bernard L. Herman

Dial later explained that these damning comments about his mixed-media work led to his lifelong commitment to works on paper.

Interview: Michael H. Hunt and Steven I. Levine on America’s quest for empire

Most Americans have been inoculated against the notion that our country can behave like an empire. Therefore, some readers may well find the focus on empire unsettling. After all, we are regularly reminded by our politicians, clergy, teachers, and the media that the U.S. is an exceptional country. We don’t do empire. That’s for the bad guys. We like to believe that whatever America does internationally is for the common good of humanity. As authors, all we ask is that readers consider our general definition of empire on its historical merits and give our treatment of the U.S. case a fair hearing.

Andre M. Fleche: The “Second American Revolution” in a Global Age

Many scholars have traced the parallels between the American Revolution and the Civil War. But in today’s global age, it is time we recognize that the first American Revolution was not the only revolution to influence America’s Civil War.