historian, author, film producer

Des Moines Civil War Roundtable–Leading the way toward a new Civil War history

Last evening I met with the Civil War Roundtable in Des Moines, Iowa. Over fifty Civil War enthusiasts gathered at the Machine Shed Restaurant for dinner and a program. With the 150th anniversary of the Civil War underway, interest is high and growing. And it was great to see so many active participants in Des Moines. Their program has already included sessions on guerrillas in the war, as well as women’s history, the experience of soldiers, the activities of women spies, and the ways the home front dealt with the dislocation and trauma of the war. The range of these topics indicated to me just how vibrant the Civil War Roundtables are, and how much they are leading the way toward new social histories of the conflict. Members have read widely in Civil War scholarship and they routinely comb the blogs of the New York Times Opinionator, Civil War centers, and academics.

With John Liepa, at Des Moines Civil War Roundtable, February 16, 2011

The proceedings last night were led by John Liepa and Ronald Nurmi. They have created a terrific set of programs and cultivated interest in the community. They made me feel right at home, as did the other members. And we had a wonderful time talking about the Civil War, railroads, and how the war was a modern conflict. I’ve always enjoyed the Civil War Roundtables, but this one was exceptional.