Bonner, Robert E. 1967–
Bonner, Robert E. 1967–
Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, assistant professor of history.
Colors and Blood: Flag Passions of the Confederate South, Princeton University Press (Princeton, NJ), 2002.
Historian Robert E. Bonner has started off his publishing credits by writing about the American Civil War. In Colors and Blood: Flag Passions of the Confederate South, he focuses on the importance of symbolism in inspiring nationalism among the citizens and soldiers of the young Confederacy. "The author argues that members of the Confederate war generation were distinctly aware of a flag's potential importance in expressing political commitments and eliciting military courage," remarked Aaron Palmer in History: Review of Books. Palmer further observed that Bonner does not explore the "minutiae" of the history behind flag colors and their meanings, adding that he "gives martial flags ample consideration, but the book's chief contribution is to the study of Confederate nationalism." "Colors and Blood meticulously catalogs the ways in which Confederate symbols evoked multiple and complex meanings during the American Civil War," observed Lisa Tendrich Frank in the Journal of Southern History. She added: "Those interested in the debate about southern identity and symbols, whether in the past or the present, will be well served to start with this work."
Reviewing The Soldier's Pen: Firsthand Impressions of the Civil War for the Civil War News, critic Michael Russert noted that there have already been numerous previously published collections of Civil War soldiers' writings. This one, however, is different because it draws heavily on unpublished writings from the Gilder Lehrman Collection in New York City, and because Bonner stresses the perspective of war letters, diaries, and related writings as legitimate forms of literature. Thus, Bonner "has successfully accomplished a distinctive and significant approach to the writings of Civil War soldiers," according to Russert, while also providing "the reader with a riveting and perceptive survey of Civil War soldiers' expressions."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Heritage, November, 2002, review of Colors and Blood: Flag Passions of the Confederate South, p. 14.
American Historical Review, October, 2003, James C. Cobb, review of Colors and Blood, p. 1152.
American Studies, summer, 2005, William L. Barney, review of Colors and Blood.
Booklist, November 15, 2006, Jay Freeman, review of The Soldier's Pen: Firsthand Impressions of the Civil War, p. 19.
Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, May, 2003, P. Harvey, review of Colors and Blood, p. 1607; June 2007, S.E. Woodworth, review of The Soldier's Pen, p. 1812.
Civil War Times, December, 2004, Justin Hardy, review of Colors and Blood, p. 68.
Comparative Studies in Society and History, April, 2004, Douglas J. Smith, review of Colors and Blood, p. 419.
History: Review of New Books, winter, 2005, Aaron Palmer, review of Colors and Blood, p. 63.
Journal of American History, December, 2003, George C. Rable, review of Colors and Blood, p. 1030.
Journal of Southern History, May, 2004, Lisa Tendrich Frank, review of Colors and Blood, p. 437.
Reviews in American History, June, 2003, Eileen Ka-May Cheng, "Flag Culture and the Confederacy: Bloodshed and National Identity," p. 268.
Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, spring, 2003, Anne Sarah Rubin, review of Colors and Blood.
Civil War News Online,http://www.civilwarnews.com/ (April 1, 2007), Michael Russert, review of The Soldier's Pen.