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Book-free since I finished Baptist. Got into it with a guy I'm pretty sure got his degree circa 1950, or pledged Kappa Kappa Kappa, over at Reddit AskHistorians. The kind of guy who knows a whole lot about militaria and likes to quote Shelby Foote, but suddenly goes super general when confronted with non-military details. Asked him states' rights for what and he answered with a quote that amounted to "just because". Frequent reference to modern-day political tropes didn't help his case either. Way to live the military historian stereotype, dude. Could not think of a civil way to ask him if he knew that bedclothes don't make for the best headgear, let alone eyewear.
Might have otherwise yielded the point, but the best he could offer me were lots of handwaves and one popular work to make his case. Refused to engage much of anything I said to him, even when I went out of my way to quote direct passages from professionals. Turned my frustration with him, and my disinclination to flip the table and dive for his nuts with teeth bared, into a night of furious research that turned up a particularly condemnatory Calhoun quote (full letter not online, damn it) and the order of several books I wanted anyway. In the next few weeks I should have
The Causes of the Civil War edited by Kenneth Stampp. Never read anything of his and I'm getting one of those reprints that seem to have been popular in the early 90s. Looks like it's an essay collection, so it might be a good window on the late-50s historiography. Incorrect plural in the title, of course.
The Civil War and Reconstruction: A Documentary History, one of the newer standard anthologies of primary sources. Got it cheap.
The Confederate War by Gary Gallagher. Examines the motivations of Confederates in general. To judge from a few of his presentations I've seen, I expect a hefty chunk on that slavery now, slavery forever guy that everyone wants to pretend is an abolitionist in disguise. You know, the traitor we put on stamps instead of a tree for some reason that eludes me. (Gallagher's explanation of the rep: "People don't read.") He also has a book on the Union that does the same, which I'll get to eventually.
Those books got me a bit guilty about not frequenting the local bookstore, especially Gallagher since he's definitely still in print, but the used books were pretty cheap. So I went to the bookstore with a longshot, William W. Freehling's Prelude to Civil War: The Nullification Controversy in South Carolina, 1816-1836 from the mid-60s and Elizabeth Varon's recent Disunion!: The Coming of the American Civil War, 1789-1859. Expected no love on Freehling (last reprint, 1992) and was sure I'd get Varon.
They found both. I walked out rather lighter, and happier, than expected. Damned if I know which I'll crack first.