The Civil War Era

A Historical Exploration of Literature

by James H. Meredith


American literature during the Civil War included Stephen Crane’s The Red Badge of Courage, Ambrose Bierce’s “Chickamauga,” Louisa May Alcott’s Hospital Sketches, poems by Whitman and Melville, and Abraham Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address.”

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Cover image for The Civil War Era

May 2018


Pages 270
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics American History/Conflict
  The Arts/American Literature
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This intriguing study examines the truth behind the myths and misconceptions that defined the American Civil War, as portrayed through the popular literary works of the time.

The Civil War Era: A Historical Exploration of Literature examines the tremendous change the American Civil War brought to society as reflected in the literature of the time. It delves into the cultural, historical, and literary contexts of the era, looking beyond common conceptions and instead reflecting on the era's complexities and contradictions.

The book profiles key American literature related to the war, both on and off the battlefield, including Stephen Crane's The Red Badge of Courage, Ambrose Bierce's "Chickamauga," Louisa May Alcott's Hospital Sketches, the Civil War poems of Walt Whitman and Herman Melville, and Lincoln's "Gettysburg Address." This book serves to demonstrate how profoundly the actions on the Civil War battlefield shaped American politics, society, and the arts.


  • Outlines key events and developments and provides context for the historical period and work
  • Aligns with Common Core standards in English language arts and social studies
  • Discusses six major writers of the Civil War Era
  • Supplies educators with ready reference work that aligns with Common Core Standards in English Language Arts (ELA) in Social Studies
  • Gives readers insight into how literature and other art forms reflect the social conditions and are inspired by events of the time
Series Description

Historical Explorations of Literature

Titles in the Historical Explorations of Literature series provide teachers and students with innovative works that align with educational standards, integrate American literature and social studies, and offer multiple features such as chronologies, historical and author background essays, primary document excerpts, discussion questions, and further readings.
Author Info

James H. Meredith is the Graduate English Faculty Lead, Colorado State University—Global Campus. He is a Past President of The Ernest Hemingway Foundation and Society and has researched war literature and film around the world. His books include Understanding the Literature of World War II and Understanding the Literature of World War I.

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