Wagner, Margaret E. 1946–
Wagner, Margaret E. 1946–
Born August 31, 1946.
Library of Congress, Washington, DC, Publishing Office, senior writer and editor.
The American Civil War: 365 Days, Harry N. Abrams in association with the Library of Congress (New York, NY), 2006.
(With others) The Library of Congress World War II Companion, edited and introduction by David M. Kennedy, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2007.
Margaret E. Wagner was born August 31, 1946. She works in the publishing department of the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, where she is a senior writer and editor. She is the author or coauthor of a number of books, many of which address the history of the United States at wartime, including The Library of Congress Civil War Desk Reference, The American Civil War: 365 Days, The Library of Congress World War II Companion, and World War II: 365 Days. She is also the author of Maxfield Parrish & the Illustrators of the Golden Age. Wagner also edited American Treasures in the Library of Congress: Memory, Reason, Imagination.
The Library of Congress Civil War Desk Reference offers readers a history of the Civil War in a convenient format, organized by themes such as "Wartime Politics," "Battles and Battlefields," "Medical Care and Medicine," and "The Civil War in Literature and the Arts." This structure leads to some repetition between sections, which is only obvious if the book is read straight through rather than used in the reference style for which it is intended. The book is extremely thorough, as Wagner and her coauthors had access to a wealth of material courtesy of the Library of Congress, including various pamphlets and other materials of the Civil War era and numerous unpublished works that are collected in the archives. In a review of The Library of Congress Civil War Desk Reference, a contributor to Booklist wrote that "anyone wanting to find information on books, people, monuments, battlefields, organizations, or reenactments will find a starting point here." Kathleen M. Conley, in a review for Library Journal, stated: "This resource is certain to be the definitive one-volume Civil War encyclopedia."
In The American Civil War, Wagner offers readers an inside look at the extensive historical collections of the Library of Congress, including a wealth of maps, etchings, daguerreotypes, paintings, and political cartoons, both from the Civil War era and representing that time. The book contains approximately five hundred images garnered from the archives, each of which is accompanied by a short description and information that helps put the image into context, whether it describes the action that is depicted or provides background information regarding a pertinent situation. Related newspaper articles, diary entries, and other original source materials accompany some images. Wagner has organized the entries according to various themes, including "Irrepressible Conflict," "Gathering Momentum," "War in the East," "Wartime Politics," "Fighting for Freedom," "Turning Points," "Army Life," and "Behind the Lines." The book also includes a day calendar, with each page referring to an event on a particular day of the year during the war. Gilbert Taylor, in a review for Booklist, declared that "this chromatic work is a marvelous addition to any general-interest Civil War collection."
The Library of Congress World War II Companion, similar in structure to Wagner's earlier reference for the Civil War, provides a thorough guide to all topics pertaining to World War II. It is also organized in an easily accessible manual that is divided up thematically. The book covers the different nations involved in the war, their leaders and military figures, weapons, attitudes and doctrine regarding wartime behavior, the economics of running the war, espionage, and the relationship of the media to the war. The Holocaust is discussed in its own chapter. Many of the articles included are based on research and materials accessed through the Library of Congress's extensive archives, making for a unique perspective on the events and the era. Taylor, in another Booklist review, dubbed the book a "well-conceived and informative overview."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Army, May 1, 2008, review of The Library of Congress World War II Companion, p. 100.
Booklist, January 1, 2003, review of The Library of Congress Civil War Desk Reference, p. 940; April 15, 2006, Gilbert Taylor, review of The American Civil War: 365 Days, p. 25; September 15, 2007, Gilbert Taylor, review of The Library of Congress World War II Companion, p. 20.
Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, July 1, 2003, R.J. Havlik, review of The Library of Congress Civil War Desk Reference.
Civil War Times, October 1, 2002, Eric Ethier, review of The Library of Congress Civil War Desk Reference, p. 68.
Library Journal, October 1, 2002, Kathleen M. Conley, review of The Library of Congress Civil War Desk Reference, p. 84.
Publishers Weekly, June 24, 2002, review of The Library of Congress Civil War Desk Reference, p. 53.
Reference & Research Book News, May 1, 2003, review of The Library of Congress Civil War Desk Reference, p. 60; August 1, 2006, review of The American Civil War.
School Library Journal, May 1, 2006, Alan Gropman, review of The American Civil War, p. 167; October 1, 2006, review of The American Civil War, p. 62.
Harry N. Abrams Web site,http://www.hnabooks.com/ (June 29, 2008), author profile.
Library of Congress Web site,http://www.loc.gov/ (June 29, 2008), author profile.