Read any new Civil War history books lately?

Emerging Civil War

Smell of Battle CaptureSmith, Mark M. The Smell of Battle, the Taste of Siege: A Sensory History of the Civil War. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015.

A “Sensory History?” What is a “Sensory” history? The title certainly catches your attention and leaves you wondering. In his introduction, Smith explains that a sensory historian goes beyond a simple description of sensory phenomenon to “historicize the senses (5).” No reenactor or author, no matter how elegant the “poetry of the description (5),” can provide the historical context necessary but a historian of the senses. Moreover, one does not need new evidence to produce sensory history. Using well-known evidence, but sorting it for the sensory element, a new history can be written about even the most studied events.

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