The Ghosts of Guerrilla Memory
How Civil War Bushwhackers Became Gunslingers in the American West

Matthew Christopher Hulbert

Uncovering the unconventional forces that fought the Civil War


“In this first book devoted entirely to Civil War memory and the guerrilla wars, Matthew Hulbert skillfully shows how popular impressions of Confederate guerrillas were exploited by both friends and enemies and for a variety of ends. Especially intriguing are the ways in which Hulbert looks beyond the Civil War generation to probe the continuing legacy of guerrilla warfare in the twentieth century. This book makes a substantial contribution to the field of memory studies.”
—Daniel E. Sutherland, author of A Savage Conflict: The Decisive Role of Guerrillas in the American Civil War

"This superb book brilliantly traces the meaning and memory of Civil War guerrillas and guerrilla warfare—from the theaters of the war into the postwar American West, and from the violence of Reconstruction into our own time. This is a major contribution to our understanding of violence in American culture."
—William F. Deverell, coauthor of The West in the History of the Nation

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The Civil War tends to be remembered as a vast sequence of battles, with a turning point at Gettysburg and a culmination at Appomattox. But in the guerrilla theater, the conflict was a vast sequence of home invasions, local traumas, and social degeneration that did not necessarily end in 1865. This book chronicles the history of “guerrilla memory,” the collision of the Civil War memory “industry” with the somber realities of irregular warfare in the borderlands of Missouri and Kansas.

In the first accounting of its kind, Matthew Christopher Hulbert’s book analyzes the cultural politics behind how Americans have remembered, misremembered, and re-remembered guerrilla warfare in political rhetoric, historical scholarship, literature, and film and at reunions and on the stage. By probing how memories of the guerrilla war were intentionally designed, created, silenced, updated, and even destroyed, Hulbert ultimately reveals a continent-wide story in which Confederate bushwhackers—pariahs of the eastern struggle over slavery—were transformed into the vanguards of American imperialism in the West.

UnCivil Wars

Page count: 312 pp.
15 b&w photos, 4 figures
Trim size: 6 x 9


List price: $84.95

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List price: $29.95

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Matthew Christopher Hulbert is a lecturer in the Department of History, Political Science, and Philosophy at Texas A&M University-Kingsville and coeditor of The Civil War Guerrilla: Unfolding the Black Flag in History, Memory, and Myth.