Niobrara County News

Making Sense of the Civil War Book Discussion Series

“Making Sense of the Civil War” is the theme for the fall book discussion series at the Niobrara County Library. The series is designed to present programming that probes meanings of the Civil War that are hidden in plain sight, behind the key questions and main characters so familiar to us. After considering the vast sweep and profound breadth of Civil War, readers will understand that the American Civil War was not a single thing, or a simple thing. And yet they will also see emancipation — the end of the most powerful system of slavery in the modern world — take its place as the central story of the war.

Tuesday, September 5 at 6 p.m. Part one of the series, “Imagining War” will be discussed through Geraldine Brooks’ book, “March” and the first part of the book, “America’s War” edited by Professor Edward L. Ayers. Part two, “Choosing Sides” will be Monday, October 6 and continue discussion of “America’s War.” “Crossroads of Freedom: Antietam” by James McPherson will be discussed, along with part of Ayer’s book on Monday, November 6 in part three, “Making Sense of Shiloh and the Shape of War.” “War and Freedom” will conclude the series with the last sections of “America’s War” on Monday, December 4 at 6 p.m.

The book discussion series will be facilitated by David Christensen, an assistant history professor at Chadron State College. Christensen received his PhD in history from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas in 2016. Born and raised in western Nebraska his research and writing interests include 19th and 20th century U.S., North American West and American Indian history. Call (334-3490) or stop by the library to register and to pick up books.

The Civil War Series includes additional programming with a four-part Dinner & Movie discussion beginning August 28 and in November, two program presenters: Historian John Voehl as Abraham Lincoln and musician, The Gypsy Cowbelle, with a program about the time immediately following the Civil War in the American West. Children’s programs will also be held along with a two-week afterschool session in November.

The “Civil War Series” is supported in part by a grant from the Wyoming Arts Council and the Niobrara County Library Foundation, Inc., with materials support from the Wyoming Humanities Council and the Niobrara County Library.