provide an insider's view of congressional, labor and party politics as well as a glimpse into the marriage and family life of a prominent Wisconsin couple. Victor Berger helped create a well-organized political machine in Milwaukee that engineered his election to the U.S. House of Representatives six times and controlled the mayor's office for almost 50 years. His wife, Meta, an activist in her own right, served as a member of the Milwaukee school board and of the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents, and vigorously advocated on behalf of woman suffrage and peace.
Mixing commentary on public affairs with family news and love notes, The Family Letters demonstrate how Victor and Meta were both interested observers as well as actors who sought to shape events in early twentieth century America.
Beecham's war was a long one—he served from May 1861 through the completion of the war in the spring of 1865. With the Iron Brigade he saw action at such momentous battles as Chancellorsville and then at Gettysburg, where he was taken prisoner. Returned to service in a prison exchange, Beecham was promoted to first lieutenant of the 23rd United States Colored Troops whom he lead in fierce fighting at the Battle of the Crater. At the Crater, Beecham was wounded, again captured, and, after eight months in a Confederate prison, escaped to find his way to Annapolis just before the conclusion of the war.
In his narrative, Beecham celebrates the ingenuity of the enlisted man at the expense of officers who are often arrogant or incompetent. He also chides the altered recollections of fellow veterans who remember only triumphs and forgot defeats. In one of the most powerful parts of his memoir, Beecham pays tribute to the valor of the African Americans who fought under his command and insists that they were "the bravest and best soldiers that ever lived."
Issues raised by the war, including its causes and consequences, reverberate through contemporary society. Family and community connections with the war exist everywhere, as do battlefields, memorials, and other physical reminders of the conflict. We, as Americans, are fascinated by the sheer magnitude of the war fought over thousands of miles of American soil and resulting in awesome casualties. It was a gigantic national drama enacted by people who seem both contemporary and remote.
Here for the first time, leading Civil War scholars gather to sort out the fact and fiction of our collective memories. Contributors include Pulitzer Prize-winner Mark E. Neely, Jr., Alan T. Nolan, John Y. Simon, James I. "Bud" Robertson, Jr., Gary W. Gallagher, Joseph T. Glatthaar, and Ervin L. Jordan, Jr.