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Chadwick, Bruce (V.)

CHADWICK, Bruce (V.)

PERSONAL: Male; married. Education: Rutgers University, Ph.D.

ADDRESSES: Office—Department of History, Rutgers University, 16 Seminary Place, New Brunswick, NJ 08901-1108.

CAREER: Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, lecturer on history and film; New Jersey City University, writing instructor; also worked as a journalist and a New York Daily News, editor.

WRITINGS:

(Editor) Brother against Brother: The Lost Civil War Diary of Lt. Edmund Halsey, Birch Lane Press/Carol Publishing Group (Secaucus, NJ), 1997.

The Two American Presidents: A Dual Biography of Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis, Carol Publishing Group (Secaucus, NJ), 1998.

Traveling the Underground Railroad: A Visitor's Guide to More than 300 Sites, Carol Publishing Group (Secaucus, NJ), 1999.

The Reel Civil War: Mythmaking in American Film, Knopf (New York, NY), 2001.

Various newspaper articles on arts and entertainment; columns on sports and trends in American culture.

SIDELIGHTS: Lecturer and journalist Bruce Chadwick has, through his scholarly work, pursued his interest in the U. S. Civil War in great depth. For example, he edited the diary and correspondence of a Union army soldier as Brother against Brother: The Lost Civil War Diary of Lt. Edmund Halsey, providing background information on the family, as well as historical annotations. Halsey, hailing from a prominent family in Rockaway, New Jersey, joined the Union army in 1862 and became an officer in the 15th New Jersey, though his father strongly opposed his enlistment. Fighting for principles, such as preserving the Union and freeing the slaves, Halsey saw combat in Chancellorsville, the Wilderness, and the Shenandoah Valley. Meanwhile, Halsey's older brother, Joseph, a proslavery landowner in Virginia, was equally committed to the Confederate cause. Nonetheless, the brothers overcame their differences not long after the end of the war. Though a reviewer for Kirkus Reviews found Chadwick's "annotations . . . too often misplaced" and Halsey's writing "listless and general," a Publishers Weekly reviewer noted that Halsey is "most eloquent in describing war's commonplace miseries," such as lice, illness, and homesickness. This reviewer also concluded that Chadwick's book "will be welcomed by readers interested in the Civil War's human dimension."

In The Two American Presidents: A Dual Biography of Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis, Chadwick examines the personalities and private lives of the two leaders in order to explain the outcome of the Civil War. James I. Robertson, Jr., in Historian, wrote that in this book, "Chadwick has done a solid job of portraying the two antagonists in the nation's darkest hour." Using memoirs, correspondence, speeches, and congressional reports for his research, Chadwick pieces together the personalities of the Union and Confederate leaders, drawing the conclusion that the war was won by the North because Lincoln possessed better personal skills, which, ultimately, made him a more effective leader. Civil War History critic Michael Naragon felt that Chadwick should have drawn more ideas from current scholarship, but Naragon nonetheless noted that "The use of biography to explain the Union victory is provocative and serves as a welcome corrective to those who stress structure at the expense of agency."

In Traveling the Underground Railroad: A Visitor's Guide to More than 300 Sites Chadwick offers the history of the network that helped runaway slaves escape to free states in the North. For each site listed in the book, Chadwick provides a brief history and, if the site is open to the public, contact information for tourists who wish to visit. Although Library Journal contributor Julia Stump found the book unsuccessful as a guidebook, because there are "no maps or directions," she concluded that the book is nonetheless "interesting as history."

Chadwick discusses how Hollywood has portrayed the Civil War in The Reel Civil War: Mythmaking in American Film. Chadwick examines the myths films have propagated about Southerners, slaves, and Northerners, particularly in Birth of a Nation and Gone with the Wind. James M. McPherson noted, in the New York Times, that "Chadwick's dissection of the myths [these two films] helped to foster is superb. His chapters on the early silent films and on movies about Abraham Lincoln are also outstanding." Although McPherson did not agree with the author's premise that there is a "subtle pro-Southern bias" to movies about Abraham Lincoln, the critic concluded that overall, Chadwick's book is an "enlightening volume."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, March 15, 1998, Brad Hooper, review of The Two American Presidents: A Dual Biography of Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis, p. 1197; January 1, 2000, Brad Hooper, review of The Two American Presidents, p. 869.

Book Report, January-February, 1998, James Gross, review of Brother against Brother: The Lost Civil War Diary of Lt. Edmund Halsey, p. 44.

Civil War History, March, 2000, Michael Naragon, review of The Two American Presidents, p. 63.

Economist, September 8, 2001, "Extra Special: Hollywood's Civil War."

Historian, summer, 2000, James I. Robertson, Jr., review of The Two American Presidents, p. 864.

Kirkus Reviews, 1997, review of Brother against Brother.

Library Journal, March 1, 1998, Brooks D. Simpson, review of The Two American Presidents, p. 100; September 1, 1999, Julia Stump, review of Traveling the Underground Railroad: A Visitor's Guide to More than 300 Sites, p. 221; August, 2001, Neal Baker, review of The Reel Civil War: Mythmaking in American Film, p. 110.

New York Times, September 30, 2001, James M. McPherson, "Klieg Lights and Magnolias: Civil War Movies May Be Ubiquitous, but They're Not Very Accurate," p. 19.

Publishers Weekly, July 30, 2001, review of The Reel Civil War, p. 73; March 23, 1998, review of The Two American Presidents, p. 83; April 21, 1997, review of Brother against Brother, p. 56.

OTHER

H-South,http://www2.h-net.msu.edu/ (September 1, 2000), Brian Dirck, review of The Two American Presidents.*

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