War on record: The archive and the afterlife of the Civil War

Yael A. Sternhell*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review


The Civil War generated a vast archive of official records--documents that would shape the postwar era and determine what future generations would know about the war. Yael Sternhell traces these records from their creation during wartime through their deployment in a host of postwar battles, including those between the federal government and Southerners seeking reparations and between veterans blaming each other for defeat. These documents were eventually published in the most important historical collection ever to have been assembled in the United States: The War of the Rebellion: The Official Records of the Union and the Confederate Armies. Known as the OR, it is the ultimate source for generations of scholars and writers and ordinary citizens researching the war. By delving into the archive, Sternhell reveals its power to shape myths, hide truths, perpetuate rancor, and foster reconciliation. Far more than a storehouse of papers, the Civil War archive is a major historical actor in its own right.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationNew Haven; London
PublisherYale University Press
Number of pages306
ISBN (Electronic)9780300274714
ISBN (Print)0300234147, 9780300234145
StatePublished - 2023

ULI Keywords

  • uli
  • Archives -- United States
  • Records -- United States
  • United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Sources


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