If you're looking for titles to add to your summer reading list, don't forget to include Luke Harlow's book, Religion, Race, and the Making of Confederate Kentucky, 1830-1880, just released by Cambridge University Press. This one is so hot off the press that I haven't actually gotten my hands on a copy yet, but I read parts of it in manuscript and have no doubt that it will make a big splash in a number of fields, including religious history, the history of the Civil War and Reconstruction, and southern history broadly construed. Then again, there's no need to take my word for it. Check out these impressive endorsements (just below the fold):
"Luke Harlow's carefully researched and gracefully argued book reveals
the importance of religion - an often-overlooked subject - in the racial
politics of the Civil War era. Religion, as Harlow shows, explains
Kentucky's transformation from a state that favored the Union to one
identified with the Confederacy and white supremacy after the Civil War.
Harlow's analysis, however, is about more than Kentucky. In his skilled
hands, the state exposes broad national dynamics that explain the
limits of change during Reconstruction more generally."
Laura F. Edwards, Duke University
Harlow has written an important and ultimately sobering book on the
relationship between religion, slavery, and race in a vitally important
border state. By focusing on a number of key leaders, he exposes both
the nature and limits of antislavery sentiment in the church and how the
conservatism and timidity of religious leaders led Kentucky along a
path toward proslavery Unionism and ironically greater identity with the
Confederacy after the Civil War. A first-rate monograph with
considerable interpretative bite."
George C. Rable, Charles
Summersell Chair in Southern History, University of Alabama, and author
of God's Almost Chosen Peoples: A Religious History of the American
"Luke Harlow's powerful book shows how the political
theologies of slavery and white supremacy drove the Unionist state of
Kentucky to 'become' Confederate after the Civil War. He ingeniously
lays bare the long and contentious transition from the view of slavery
as a 'necessary evil' to a full-throated embrace of white supremacy
among white Kentucky Protestants, carefully demonstrating exactly how
the faith that sustained slavery long outlived emancipation."
Beth Barton Schweiger, University of Arkansas
original and deeply researched, Religion, Race, and the Making of
Confederate Kentucky, 1830-1880 reveals how this border state was
neither a moderate middle ground nor an outlier in the nineteenth
century, but rather was a key front in the nation's long-standing battle
over slavery. Harlow painstakingly reconstructs a diverse array of
arguments that vied for supremacy along the pro- and antislavery
spectrum - and reveals the crucial position of evangelical religion at
the root of it all. The result is a masterful journey through the
tangled history of race and religion in nineteenth-century America."
Amy Murrell Taylor, University of Kentucky
Finally, in case you missed it, John Fea has a great interview with Harlow regarding the book over at The Way of Improvement Leads Home. This exciting new monograph is sure to get more attention - both here at RiAH and elsewhere - in the weeks and months to come. Congratulations, Luke!