From my list on American battlefields.
Who am I?
I remember well my first visit to Gettysburg on a high school trip. I had trouble expressing what I felt until I read the words of a battlefield guide who said that he often sensed a “brooding omnipresence.” I have often felt such presences across the historic landscape in the U.S. and elsewhere. I am now Professor Emeritus of History at Indiana University, and former editor of the Journal Of American History. I have also written Preserving Memory: The Struggle To Create America’s Holocaust Museum; The Unfinished Bombing: Oklahoma City In American Memory, and co-edited American Sacred Space; History Wars: The Enola Gay And Other Battles For The American Past; and Landscapes Of 9/11: A Photographer’s Journey.
Edward's book list on American battlefields
Why did Edward love this book?
Historian Mark M. Smith is one of the pioneers of the truly exciting field of sensory history. Smith’s book is a model for how the next generations of historians can expand our understanding of the power and spectacle of war through a focus on all the senses. Smith’s chapters pick a particular sense at a particular Civil War site—my favorite is “Cornelia Hancock’s Sense of Smell,” which helps us appreciate how the assaults of transgressive smells lasted far beyond the three days of combat at Gettysburg. Each chapter is carefully crafted to illustrate how an assault of the senses threatened the stability of what registered as “civilization” for the Civil War generation. After reading several of Smith’s books, I found myself much more attentive to the sensory dimension of any historical experience. Early in my tenure as editor of the Journal Of American History, I asked Smith to be…