Rebirth of a Nation: Nationalism and the Civil War
No period of American history has held our fascination over the years like the Civil War. It was a time of great principles and inspired ideals, a time of impassioned rhetoric and heroic acts, and, ultimately, a time of incomparable human suffering and sacrifice. Why did the “perfect Union” envisioned by the Founding Fathers turn on itself and risk self-destruction? What new order emerged from the devastation? And what is the legacy of the Civil War to our own time?
“Rebirth of a Nation” brings to life the issues, the events, and the personalities that divided a nation and led the North and South through war to reconciliation. Through reading and discussion, we have an opportunity to experience the Civil War, to debate and judge for ourselves the merits of the principles the Union and Confederacy fought for so bitterly, and to increase our understanding of the forces that finally bound the nation together.
- Two Roads to Sumter by William and Bruce Catton
- Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
- Ordeal by Fire, Volume II: The Civil War by James M. McPherson
- Reconstruction: After the Civil War by John Hope Franklin
- The Private Mary Chestnut: The Unpublished Civil War Diaries edited by C. Vann Woodward
The humanities scholar’s essay was written in 1986 by John McCardell, Associate Professor of History at Middlebury College, Middlebury, Vermont.
Download the scholar’s essay, annotated book list, and supplementary texts (PDF). Please note: The American Library Association is the copyright owner of this essay and annotations. The credit lines embedded in the program materials and/or sponsor and funder logos must remain on all published (print and web) materials derived from these materials.
How-To Discussion Programming Guides
Developed to aid participants in “The Millennium Project for Public Libraries,” this how-to guide (PDF) provides basic information about developing and promoting book discussion programs.
When planning a “Let’s Talk About It” program, you may wish to consult the planner’s manual (PDF) for general how-to information about program format, selecting a scholar, promoting your series, evaluation, and more.