Megan Kate Nelson reveals the history of the Civil War in the American West. Exploring the connections among the Civil War, the Indian Wars, and western expansion, Nelson reframes the era as one of national conflict—involving not just the North and South, but also the West.
Nelson adroitly weaves the lives and experiences of nine people, including a Union army wife, a Navajo woman, an Apache chief, a rancher, and a young lawyer, to show how their lives were affected by the War ... Based on extensive archival research, Nelson’s work expands our understanding of how the Civil War affected Indigenous peoples and helped to shape the nation ... Readers interested in the Civil War and Western history will enjoy this nuanced portrait of the era.
... brisk and well-sourced ... Nelson effectively blends military history with a fresh look at a region typically obscured in accounts of the Civil War. American history buffs will relish this entertaining and eye-opening portrait.
Nelson’s cast of characters reads like a John Ford film cast ... Nelson is a touch florid at times, and most elements of her story are well known to students of the history of the American West. She does a good job of setting them in a coherent, if never particularly rousing narrative ... A useful survey for readers interested in the Civil War in its short-lived southwestern theater.