The Civil War Era and Reconstruction: An Encyclopedia of Social, Political, Cultural, and Economic History

Article excerpt

The Civil War Era and Reconstruction: An Encyclopedia of Social, Political, Cultural, and Economic History. By Mary Ellen Snodgrass. Armonk, N.Y.: Sharpe Reference, 2011. 2 vols. acid free $249 (ISBN: 978-0-7656-8257-4). E-book available, call for pricing.

The Civil War Era and Reconstruction: An Encyclopedia of Social, Political, Cultural, and Economic History by Mary Ellen Snodgrass presents a unique point of view on the Civil War and Reconstruction. The difference between this piece of writing and others in the genre is that this encyclopedia is less focused on the military and war efforts and more focused on the social, political, cultural, and economic efforts during this era as the title suggests. Mary Ellen is the author of many books; this is her first work specifically about the Civil War era and Reconstruction.

While there are many books written about the Civil War and Reconstruction there are few encyclopedias that attempt to provide an overview of the era in the way that this encyclopedia does. Some address the era from a military stance including the Encyclopedia of American History (Volume 5: Civil War and Reconstruction, 1856-1869) edited by Gary B. Nash (Facts on File, 2003); others from a racial/ethnic standpoint such as Richard Zuczek's Encyclopedia of the Reconstruction Era (2 volumes), a part of the Greenwood Milestones in African American History Series (Greenwood, 2006).

A Topic Finder section is included in the front with the topic headings such as "African Americans," "Arts, Culture, Recreation," "Cities, States, Regions, Features," "Education," "Family, Community, Society," "Historical Events, Periods, Holidays," "Native Americans," "Organizations and Institutions (Non-Governmental)," "Religion and Religious Groups," "Science, Technology, Medicine," and "Women and Gender. …