Catherine Clinton’s Books

Catherine Clinton has written over 30 titles. Scroll down to see the full list.

Sisterly Networks: Fifty Years of Southern Women’s Histories

Tracing the development of the field of southern women’s history over the past half century,  Sisterly Networks shows how pioneering feminists laid the foundation for a strong community of sister scholars and delves into the work of an organization central to this movement, the Southern Association for Women Historians (SAWH).

Confederate Statues and Memorialization

Nine killed in Charleston church shooting. White supremacists demonstrate in Charlottesville. Monuments decommissioned in New Orleans and Chapel Hill. The headlines keep coming, and the debate rolls on. How should we contend with our troubled history as a nation? What is the best way forward?

Stepdaughters of History: Southern Women and the American Civil War

In Stepdaughters of History , noted scholar Catherine Clinton reflects on the roles of women as historical actors within the field of Civil War studies and examines the ways in which historians have redefined female wartime participation. Clinton contends that despite the recent attention, white and black women’s contributions remain shrouded in myth and sidelined in traditional historical narratives. Her work tackles some of these well-worn assumptions, dismantling prevailing attitudes that consign women to the footnotes of Civil War texts.

Mary Chesnut’s Diary

Mary Boykin Chesnut was born into a wealthy South Carolina family. Her father, Stephen Decatur Miller, was a senator who supported states’ rights and the legalization of slavery. She married James Chestnut in 1840 and they moved to Camden, New Jersey. Her husband later became a US senator but in 1860, after Abraham Lincoln was elected, he resigned his position. The couple relocated to North Carolina during the Civil War, and Mary recorded her thoughts in a diary that would be published in full after her death.

Mrs. Lincoln: A Life

Abraham Lincoln is the most revered president in American history, but the woman at the center of his life;his wife, Mary; has remained a historical enigma. One of the most tragic and mysterious of nineteenth-century figures, Mary Lincoln and her story symbolize the pain and loss of Civil War America. Authoritative and utterly engrossing,  Mrs. Lincoln is the long-awaited portrait of the woman who so richly contributed to Lincoln’s life and legacy.


History Book Club Selection

Book of the Month Selection

Reminiscences of My Life in Camp: An African American Woman’s Civil War Memoir

Near the end of her classic wartime account, Susie King Taylor writes, “there are many people who do not know what some of the colored women did during the war.” For her own part, Taylor spent four years―without pay or formal training―nursing sick and wounded members of a black regiment of Union soldiers. In addition, she worked as a camp cook, laundress, and teacher.  Taylor tells of being born into slavery and of learning, in secret, to read and write. She describes maturing under her wartime responsibilities and traveling with the troops in South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. After the war, Taylor dedicated herself to improving the lives of black Southerners and black Union Army veterans. The final chapters of Reminiscences  are filled with depictions of the racism to which these efforts often exposed her.

Battle Scars: Gender and Sexuality in the American Civil War

Over a decade ago, the publication of Divided Houses  ushered in a new field of scholarship on gender and the Civil War. Following in its wake, Battle Scars  showcases insights from award-winning historians as well as emerging scholars. This volume depicts the ways in which gender, race, nationalism, religion, literary culture, sexual mores, and even epidemiology underwent radical transformations from when Americans went to war in 1861 through Reconstruction. Examining the interplay among such phenomena as racial stereotypes, sexual violence, trauma, and notions of masculinity,  Battle Scars represents the best new scholarship on men and women in the North and South and highlights how lives were transformed by this era of tumultuous change.

Harriet Tubman: The Road to Freedom

Celebrated for her exploits as a conductor on the Underground Railroad, Harriet Tubman has entered history as one of nineteenth-century America’s most enduring and important figures. But just who was this remarkable woman? To John Brown, leader of the Harper’s Ferry slave uprising, she was General Tubman. For the many slaves she led north to freedom, she was Moses. To the slaveholders who sought her capture, she was a thief and a trickster. To abolitionists, she was a prophet.

Southern Families at War: Loyalty and Conflict in the Civil War South

Whether it was planter patriarchs struggling to maintain authority, or Jewish families coerced by Christian evangelicalism, or wives and mothers left behind to care for slaves and children, the Civil War took a terrible toll. From the bustling sidewalks of Richmond to the parched plains of the Texas frontier, from the rich Alabama black belt to the Tennessee woodlands, no corner of the South went unscathed. Through the prism of the southern family, this volume of twelve original essays provides fresh insights into this watershed in American history.

Fanny Kemble’s Journals

Henry James called Fanny Kemble’s autobiography “one of the most animated autobiographies in the language.” Born into the first family of the British stage, Fanny Kemble was one of the most famous woman writers of the English-speaking world, a best-selling author on both sides of the Atlantic. In addition to her essays, poetry, plays, and a novel, Kemble published six works of memoir, eleven volumes in all, covering her life, which began in the first decade of the nineteenth century and ended in the last. Her autobiographical writings are compelling evidence of Kemble’s wit and talent, and they also offer a dazzling overview of her transatlantic world.

Fanny Kemble’s Civil Wars

The life of British stage actress and abolitionist Fanny Kemble follows this remarkable woman from England to Georgia, where, as a “plantation mistress” she wrote fiery tracts against slavery.

The Columbia Guide to American Women in the Nineteenth Century

The experience of women in the nineteenth century has generated a wealth of interdisciplinary research in recent decades.  The Columbia Guide to American Women in the Nineteenth Century presents the best of the recent scholarship available in a concise, “one-stop” resource, providing students of women’s history and nineteenth-century American culture with an authoritative source of information and interpretation.

Public Women and the Confederacy

I really enjoyed reading this as an introduction to the subject. I actually bought to familiarize myself with the time period, but after reading the lecture actually found the resource list/bibliography to be invaluable. Prof Clinton has set me up for weeks worth of happy reading! Totally worth the money and time. Written in keen academic style but readable for any college level reader with a general understanding of the 19th C.”

Taking Off the White Gloves: Southern Women and Women Historians

When southern women remove their gloves, they speak their minds. The ten timely and provocative essays in  Taking Off the White Gloves represent the collective wisdom of some of the finest scholars on women’s history in the American South. On the eve of the thirtieth anniversary of the Southern Association for Women Historians, this volume brings together some of the outstanding lectures delivered by distinguished members of the association over the past fifteen years.

Civil War Stories

Civil War Stories is Catherine Clinton’s fresh look at some everyday and extraordinary people whose lives were forever transformed by the impact of war. Her multifaceted perspective includes the stories of sisters, children, and friends torn apart by the crisis of Confederate independence, as well as those to whom silence was a way to “keep the peace,” although true peace would never again be restored.

The Devil’s Lane: Sex and Race in the Early South

When Europeans settled in the early South, they quarreled over many things–but few imbroglios were so fierce as battles over land. Landowners wrangled bitterly over boundaries with neighbors and contested areas became known as “the devil’s lane.” Violence and bloodshed were but some of the consequences to befall those who ventured into these disputed territories.

Life in Civil War America

Provided history in a time saving concise read. Great for a busy schedule that wants to step into a different time and understand how people survived those terrible events, that changed the world.”

Tara Revisited: Women, War, & the Plantation Legend

Letters, diaries, slave narratives, and southern literature retrace the steps of the women of the American South in this historical volume. Filled with photographs,  Tara Revisited present the facts and fiction behind such southern icons as Scarlett O’Hara, Mrs. Butterworth, Clara Barton, and others who were plantation mistresses, slaves, city dwellers, and even soldiers. Clinton brings to life the joy and suffering of women in both black and white communities, beginning with antebellum society, continuing through the Reconstruction era, and ending with the present day. The final chapter, “The Road to Tara,” discusses the Southern Belle, the Southern Mammy, and the implications of our fascination with those figures from a past which may or may not have existed only in our minds and our movies.

Half Sisters of History: Southern Women and the American Past

Long relegated to the margins of historical research, the history of women in the American South has rightfully gained prominence as a distinguished discipline. A comprehensive and much-needed tribute to southern women’s history,  Half Sisters of History brings together the most important work in this field over the past twenty years.

Divided Houses

No American needs to be told that the Civil War brought the United States to a critical juncture in its history. The war changed forever the face of the nation, the nature of American politics, the status of African-Americans, and the daily lives of millions of people. Yet few of us understand how the war transformed gender roles and attitudes toward sexuality among American citizens. 

Portraits of American Women: From Settlement to the Present

Until recently, a “womanless” American history was the norm. But in fact, without a history of women we neglect consideration of gender dynamics, sex roles, and family and sexual relations–the very fundamentals of human interaction. In  Portraits of American Women, G.J. Barker-Benfield and Catherine Clinton present twenty-four short essays on American women beginning with Pocahontas and ending with Betty Friedan.

The Other Civil War: American Women in the Nineteenth Century

The American women who worked for our country’s independence in 1776 hoped the new Republic would grant them unprecedented power and influence. But it was not until the next century that a hardy group of pathbreakers began the slow march on the road to autonomy, a road American women con- tinue to travel today. The Other Civil War, first published in 1984, was among the first books to bring together the new accomplishments of the then-infant discipline of women’s history.

The Plantation Mistress: Woman’s World in the Old South

This pioneering study of the much-mythologized Southern belle offers the first serious look at the lives of white women and their harsh and restricted place in the slave society before the Civil War. Drawing on the diaries, letters, and memoirs of hundreds of planter wives and daughters, Clinton sets before us in vivid detail the daily life of the plantation mistress and her ambiguous intermediary position in the hierarchy between slave and master.