So Conceived and So Dedicated: Intellectual Life in the Civil War-Era North

This scholarly book contains 11 essays by a group of younger historians regarding various issues on the impact of the Civil War on the intellectual life in the North. All but one are college professors with good credentials.

They examine core issues of loyalty, nationalism, individualism, authoritarianism and other aspects of society at all levels, not just the elite of high social status. It is a study of how Northern Intellectuals dedicated themselves to the work of living out their ideals and reforms.

These intellectuals were prominent New Englanders and very liberal. The essays cover the issues of historians and intellectual life of the era; U.S. Sanitary Commission doctors and health care; Civil War cybernetics, including medicine, modernity and the intellectual mechanics of Union; race and civic health; John Ropes: a lawyer historian; Midwestern University faculty responses to the war; Lessons of War: veterans & postwar education; representations of black soldiers; meaning of the war for Irish Americans and the limits of Catholic patriotism. (Topics have been abbreviated from their full titles).

All of the essays are well researched, documented, and written, but I have to admit I had a difficult time keeping an interest in some of them. Perhaps they are a bit too intellectual for the average Civil War reader, though I did find some of the essays interesting, as the home front, as well as the battlefield, is presented. All the essays deal with beliefs and attitudes and how the war changed people’s ways of thinking. There is more to the American Civil War than battles and leaders.

Title: So Conceived and So Dedicated: Intellectual Life in the Civil War-Era North

Edited by: Lorien Foote & Kanisorn Wongsrichanalai

Publisher: Fordham University Press

Pages: 313

Price: $40.00

Soft Cover