Ash, Stephen V. 1948-

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ASH, Stephen V. 1948-


Born November 22, 1948, in El Centro, CA; son of Omar L. and Juanita (Vaughan) Ash; married Jean Cumming, June 20, 1970. Ethnicity: "White." Education: Gettysburg College, B.A., 1970; University of Tennessee, M.A., 1974, Ph.D., 1983.


Office—University of Tennessee, Department of History, 915 Volunteer Blvd., 6th Floor, Dunford Hall, Knoxville, TN 37996. E-mail[email protected].


Educator, historian, and author. Independent historian in Knoxville, TN, 1983-90; University of Tennessee, Knoxville, instructor, 1989-95, assistant professor of American history, 1995-98, associate professor, 1998-2003, professor, 2003—; Lindsay Young Professorship, 2002-03. University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, adjunct instructor, 1994. Journal of East Tennessee History, managing editor, 1993-99.


American Council of Learned Societies (fellow), Virginia Historical Society (fellow), Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (fellow), Organization of American Historians, Society of Civil War Historians, Southern Historical Association, Tennessee Historical Society, Virginia Historical Society, East Tennessee Historical Society, Authors Guild, Phi Kappa Phi.


John T. Moore Memorial Award, Tennessee Historical Society, 1977, for a journal article; Tennessee History Book Award, Tennessee Historical Commission/Tennessee Library Association, and Outstanding Academic Book citation, Choice, both 1988, for Middle Tennessee Society Transformed, 1860-1870: War and Peace in the Upper South; History in the Media Award, East Tennessee Historical Society, 1991, for the newspaper series "Past Times"; Outstanding Teacher Award, University of Tennessee National Alumni Association, 1999; Chancellor's Award for Research and Creative Achievement, University of Tennessee, 2004.


(Editor and author of introduction) Dean S. Thomas, Ready—Aim—Fire!: Small Arms Ammunition in the Battle of Gettysburg, D. S. Thomas (Arendtsville, PA), c. 1981.

Meet Me at the Fair!: A Pictorial History of the Tennessee Valley Agricultural and Industrial Fair, Tennessee Valley Fair (Knoxville, TN), 1985.

Tennessee's Iron Industry Revisited: The Stewart County Story, Land Between the Lakes Association (Golden Pond, KY), 1986.

The Knoxville News-Sentinel: A Century of Front Pages, Knoxville News-Sentinel (Knoxville, TN), 1986.

Beyond Their Dreams (video documentary), produced by University of Tennessee (Knoxville, TN), 1986.

Middle Tennessee Society Transformed, 1860-1870: War and Peace in the Upper South, Louisiana State University Press (Baton Rouge, LA), 1988.

Messages of the Governors of Tennessee, Volume IX: 1907-1921, Volume X: 1921-1933, Tennessee Historical Commission (Nashville, TN), 1990.

Past Times: A Daybook of Knoxville History, Knoxville News-Sentinel (Knoxville, TN), 1991.

When the Yankees Came: Conflict and Chaos in the Occupied South, 1861-1865, University of North Carolina Press (Chapel Hill, NC), 1995.

(With Paul H. Bergeron and Jeanette Keith) Tennesseans and Their History, University of Tennessee Press, (Knoxville, TN), 1999.

(Editor and author of introduction) Parson Brownlow, Secessionists and Other Scoundrels: Selections from Parson Brownlow's Book, Louisiana State University Press, (Baton Rouge, LA), 1999.

A Year in the South: Four Lives in 1865, Palgrave Macmillan (New York, NY), 2002, republished as A Year in the South: 1865: The True Story of Four Ordinary People Who Lived through the Most Tumultuous Months in American History, Perennial (New York, NY), 2004.

Contributor of articles and reviews to books, including Houston and Crockett, Heroes of Tennessee and Texas: An Anthology, edited by Herbert L. Harper, Tennessee Historical Commission, 1986. Contributor to periodicals, including Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Historian, Tennessee Historical Quarterly, Maryland Historian, and Journal of Southern History.


Stephen V. Ash, professor of history at the University of Tennessee and Civil War scholar, has written several books detailing various aspects of Southern history, including the Civil War and its effects on Southern lifestyle. Ash's When the Yankees Came: Conflict and Chaos in the Occupied South attempts to provide more insight into the attitudes and actions of the people of the Southern Civil War home front during its occupation by the Federal Army. Ash examines the Confederacy as a whole, and then divides the Confederacy into zones, which shifted as the war progressed. He examines the Federal Army's handling of the Confederate citizens, showing that they were generally treated well when they stayed out of the army's way and were treated poorly when they acted hostile. Ash also probes the social conflicts existing within the South itself, including the fluid stances of Southern Unionists, the effect on the South when thousands of Southerners fled to the North, and the attempted efforts at a Southern uprising. "All of this is accomplished in a remarkably even-handed manner," stated Daniel E. Sutherland in a review of When the Yankees Came for H-Net Reviews. "Ash is careful not to exceed the boundaries of his evidence, or to over-generalize about motives or reactions. The result is a model of thorough research and clear writing," maintained Sutherland, who concluded, "Ash's wonderful book has made it impossible for historians to comment on large portions of the Confederate home front without reference to his insights, evaluations, and conclusions. He has changed the way in which we view the Confederacy."

Ash narrowed his studies to a single formidable Civil War era figure for his Secessionists and Other Scoundrels: Selections from Parson Brownlow's Book. Parson Brownlow was a newspaper owner, an editor, an editorialist, a Methodist preacher, and a staunch Southern Unionist. Brownlow is famous for his anti-Confederate opinions, which he aggressively stated during the most difficult times in Southern history. At the onset of the Civil War, Brownlow refused to give up his Union loyalty, leading to his incarceration and eventual banishment to the North. For the publication of Secessionists and Other Scoundrels, Ash selected some of the best of Brownlow's speeches, Knoxville Whig editorials, letters, and other forms of commentary from Brownlow's original publication Sketches of the Rise, Progress, and Decline of Secession; with a Narrative of Personal Adventures among the Rebels, published in 1862. Ash also supplemented the publication with biographical information and historical context to promote a better understanding of the selections.

In A Year in the South: Four Lives in 1865, Ash delves further into the lives of Civil War Southerners in a four part biography. Ash's subjects are a grieving Virginian woman who has lost her husband to the war and must struggle through the poverty of Reconstruction, a mulatto slave living in Alabama who has resolved to be free, a minister in Mississippi whose spirituality cannot account for the devastation of war, and an eighteen-year-old Confederate soldier and former farmer who, even at such a young age, must struggle to rebuild his fractured life. In the prologue of A Year in the South, Ash describes what each has endured up to the year 1865, the final year of the war and the year in which the book begins. He then traces the very different lives of each subject through each season of this year, with the aid of their diaries and memoirs. Ash finishes with an epilogue that divulges the events of their lives beyond 1865. One Publishers Weekly reviewer described A Year in the South as a "blending of social, military, and local history, crafted by an author with a muscular style, a keen eye for memorable details, and the good sense to avoid scholarly jargon and weighty theory." Library Journal 's Kathleen Conley pointed out, as did the previous reviewer, that the book reads more like a novel than a historical account. Conley observed that the author's "focus upon just four lives does not confine the narrative" but rather offers a broader picture of the important issues in the crippled South. Conley concluded her review by claiming A Year in the South "will give a fresh insight to Civil War enthusiasts and interest new readers of the period."



American Studies International, February, 2004, Giselle Roberts, review of A Year in the South: Four Lives in 1865, p. 151.

Historian, summer, 1997, Brooks D. Simpson, review of When the Yankees Came: Conflict and Chaos in the Occupied South, 1861-1865, pp. 871-872.

Journal of American History, December, 2000, Lewright Sikes, review of Tennesseans and Their History, p. 1037.

Journal of Southern History, February, 1997, James Marten, review of When the Yankees Came, pp. 179-180.

Library Journal, March 1, 2003, Kathleen Conley, review of A Year in the South, pp. 101-102.

Publishers Weekly, October 21, 2002, review of A Year in the South, p. 64.


H-Net Reviews Web site, (April 15, 2004), Daniel E. Sutherland, review of When the Yankees Came.

University of Tennessee—Knoxville Web site, (April 15, 2004), "Department of History: Stephen V. Ash."