For countless readers, the books of Bell Irvin Wiley (1906-1980) remain a high-water mark in historical writing on the American Civil War. The Life of Billy Yank, The Life of Johnny Reb, The Road to Appomattox, Southern Negroes, 1861-1865, all are classics in the field, and Wiley's influence on contemporary Civil War scholarship has been immeasurable. The Bell Irvin Wiley Reader offers for the first time many lesser known and unpublished writings of this eminent historian and provides an intimate portrait of the man Life Magazine once hailed as "the nation's foremost authority of soldier life during the Civil War."
Culled from a trove of 176 boxes of Wiley’s personal papers at the Emory University archives, the selections in this collection present a broad cross-section of his work, both oral and written, and focus on the professor’s favorite subjects. Among the documents are speeches and articles, such as "The Road to War," "Lincoln, Plain Man of the People," "Life on the Confederate Homefront," "The Collapse of the Confederacy," "American History and Racial Understanding," "Historians and the National Register," and "Why Teach the Civil War?"
Buttressed by an excellent introduction by editors Hill Jordan and J. H. Segars and biographical notations and sections introductions by James I. Robertson Jr.one of Wiley’s best studentsthis anthology shows Wiley to be an enigma: a distinguished scholar who enjoyed the company of ordinary people; a staunch advocate for civil rights who would not agree to ease university admission standards for blacks; a master teacher who refused to accept departmental chairmanships. He was, indeed, the uncommon "common man" of which he wrote so often, and his work continues to provide us with a clearer understanding of our great American heritage.
About the Authors:
Hill Jordan, an independent researcher and former lawyer, teaches government and law at Phoenix High School, a non-traditional public high school of choice in Lawrenceville, Georgia.
James I. Robertson Jr. is Alumni Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech University and author of, among others, Stonewall Jackson and The Stonewall Brigade.
J. H. Segars is Grants Administrator for the Georgia Department of Education and author or editor of several books, including In Search of Confederate Ancestors, and Andersonville: The Southern Perspective.