Smithsonian Civil War: Inside the National Collection
Smithsonian Civil War is a lavishly illustrated coffee-table book featuring 150 entries in honor of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. From among tens of thousands of Civil War objects in the Smithsonian's collections, curators handpicked 550 items and wrote a unique narrative that begins before the war through the Reconstruction period. The perfect gift book for fathers and history lovers, Smithsonian Civil War combines one-of-a-kind, famous, and previously unseen relics from the war in a truly unique narrative.
Smithsonian Civil War takes the reader inside the great collection of Americana housed at twelve national museums and archives and brings historical gems to light. From the National Portrait Gallery come rare early photographs of Stonewall Jackson and Ulysses S. Grant; from the National Museum of American History, secret messages that remained hidden inside Lincoln's gold watch for nearly 150 years; from the National Air and Space Museum, futuristic Civil War-era aircraft designs. Thousands of items were evaluated before those of greatest value and significance were selected for inclusion here. Artfully arranged in 150 entries, they offer a unique, panoramic view of the Civil War.
ISBN 10: 1588343898
ISBN 13: 9781588343895
Smithsonian Institution and Neil Kagan
SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION is the largest museum complex in the world. Smithsonian Civil War features objects from 12 Smithsonian museums and research centers and text by 49 curators with expertise in a variety of fields. NEIL KAGAN specializes in producing innovative illustrated books. As the former publisher for Time-Life Books, he created numerous book series, including Voices of the Civil War, Our American Century, and What Life Was Like. He has edited Great Battles of the Civil War, Great Photographs of the Civil War, Concise History of the World, Eyewitness to the Civil War, Atlas of the Civil War, and The Untold Civil War.
History is sometimes best told through the artifacts it leaves behind. As for the Civil War, the Smithsonian Institution’s artifacts can communicate more than any textbook ever could, from a violin carried by a Union soldier to the canvas hoods forced on Lincoln’s assassination conspirators. These and other haunted relics from the antebellum period through Reconstruction are found in Smithsonian Civil War: Inside the National Collection (Smithsonian, $40). Museum curators each selected and wrote about a specific object from the collections, generating a total of 150 entries. You might call a number of these objects works of art, particularly the pottery of David Drake, the Edgefield, S.C., slave who inscribed witty couplets and short poems onto his vessels, such as “Another trick is worst than this/Dearest Miss, spare me a kiss.”
This outstanding hardback pictorial history opens the Civil War collections of the Smithsonian and presents them in a remarkably accessible, artistic, and informative fashion. The exceptional strength of this work is anchored on the astonishing Civil War collection of artifacts that the Smithsonian has within its vaults and on display, and subsequently reproduced in this volume. Though the emphasis is on the visual experience, the narrative overviews and item descriptions provide exceptional background and historical context for each chapter and component on display. While the book can be viewed as either a reference volume or a coffee-table pictorial history, anyone with an interest in the Civil War, from university professor to elementary school student, will be drawn in and able to utilize this unique masterpiece for projects ranging from a school report to assembling a manuscript for publication; all objects and images contain their respective Smithsonian catalog identification. Quite frankly, every home and every library in the US should own a copy of this timeless masterpiece.
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