Civil War and Reconstruction

If recent stories about the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War have piqued your interest, I highly recommend this series of lectures by Professor David Blight of Yale University. That’s a link to the Yale site, but you can also get it directly from iTunes U. Here’s the course description:

This course explores the causes, course, and consequences of the American Civil War, from the 1840s to 1877. The primary goal of the course is to understand the multiple meanings of a transforming event in American history. Those meanings may be defined in many ways: national, sectional, racial, constitutional, individual, social, intellectual, or moral. Four broad themes are closely examined: the crisis of union and disunion in an expanding republic; slavery, race, and emancipation as national problem, personal experience, and social process; the experience of modern, total war for individuals and society; and the political and social challenges of Reconstruction.

I listened to it a couple of years ago, and I’ve mentioned it here at least twice before, but I don’t mind repeating myself—it’s very well done, especially in its coverage of the years leading up to the war. The only downside is that Blight sounds a lot like Garrison Keillor. It’s a perfectly fine voice, but I kept expecting him to start class with “Well, it’s been a quiet week in Vicksburg, my hometown out on the banks of the Mississippi…”