Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Bruce Levine  

Pen Name: None

Genre: History Non-Fiction

Born:

Sites:


Illinois Connection

Bruce Levine is a Professor of History at the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign.

Biographical and Professional Information

Bruce Levine is the J. G. Randall Distinguished Professor of History at the University of Illinois. An associate editor of the Civil War magazine ''North and South'', he has published three books on the Civil War era.


Published Works Expand for more information


Titles At Your Library

The Spirit of 1848: German Immigrants, Labor Conflict, and the Coming of the Civil War (Working Class in American History)
ISBN: 0252018737

University of Illinois Press. 1992

Immigrants and their children became the chief component of the U.S. working class during the nineteenth century. Bruce Levine examines the early years of this social transformation, focusing on German-born craft workers and the key roles they played in the economic and political life of the wage-earning population of antebellum America. Interweaving themes often treated separately--immigration, industrialization, class formation, and the political polarization over slavery--Levine sheds new light on the development of the working class, the nature and appeals of partisan politics, and the conflicts that led to sectional war. This study begins by carefully delineating the European background of these emigrants, especially their involvement in the economic, political, and cultural developments that culminated in the revolution of 1848. It then follows them to the New World, where it locates them within the multi-class German-American population. The author subtly analyzes the deepening political divisions within German-America, differentiating conservative, liberal, radical-democratic, and Marxist currents. At the same time, Levine explores the distinctive role that German-American workers played in American society at large--notably, in the multi-ethnic antebellum labor movement and in popular responses to the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, the rise of the Republican party, and the outbreak of sectional war. Throughout, Levine stresses the way in which European memories, traditions, and values conditioned (and were reshaped by) the immigrants' encounter with industrial, political, and cultural realities in their new land. The volume concludes with a discussion of the legacy of the radicalcraftworker milieu in postbellum decades and an assessment of later attempts to ignore or minimize this aspect of German-American and American working-class history. The Spirit of 1848 offers much new information and insight concerning craftwork, the nature of the antebellum lab

Half Slave and Half Free, Revised Edition: The Roots of Civil War
ISBN: 0809053535

Hill and Wang. 2005

Revised Edition
With a New Preface and Afterword

In a revised edition, brought completely up to date with a new preface and afterword and an expanded bibliography, Bruce Levine's succinct and persuasive treatment of the basic issues that precipitated the Civil War is as compelling as ever. Levine explores the far-reaching, divisive changes in American life that came with the incomplete Revolution of 1776 and the development of two distinct social systems, one based on slavery, the other on free labor--changes out of which the Civil War developed.

Confederate Emancipation: Southern Plans to Free and Arm Slaves during the Civil War
ISBN: 0195315863

Oxford University Press. 2007

In early 1864, as the Confederate Army of Tennessee licked its wounds after being routed at the Battle of Chattanooga, Major-General Patrick Cleburne (the "Stonewall of the West") proposed that "the most courageous of our slaves" be trained as soldiers and that "every slave in the South who shall remain true to the Confederacy in this war" be freed. In Confederate Emancipation, Bruce Levine looks closely at such Confederate plans to arm and free slaves. He shows that within a year of Cleburne's proposal, which was initially rejected out of hand, Jefferson Davis, Judah P. Benjamin, and Robert E. Lee had all reached the same conclusions. At that point, the idea was debated widely in newspapers and drawing rooms across the South, as more and more slaves fled to Union lines and fought in the ranks of the Union army. Eventually, the soldiers of Lee's army voted on the proposal, and the Confederate government actually enacted a version of it in March. The Army issued the necessary orders just two weeks before Appomattox, too late to affect the course of the war. Throughout the book, Levine captures the voices of blacks and whites, wealthy planters and poor farmers, soldiers and officers, and newspaper editors and politicians from all across the South. In the process, he sheds light on such hot-button topics as what the Confederacy was fighting for, whether black southerners were willing to fight in large numbers in defense of the South, and what this episode foretold about life and politics in the post-war South.
Confederate Emancipation offers an engaging and illuminating account of a fascinating and politically charged idea, setting it firmly and vividly in the context of the Civil War and the part played in it by the issue of slavery and the actions of the slaves themselves.

The Fall of the House of Dixie: The Civil War and the Social Revolution That Transformed the South
ISBN: 1400067030

Random House. 2013

In this major new history of the Civil War, Bruce Levine tells the riveting story of how that conflict upended the economic, political, and social life of the old South, utterly destroying the Confederacy and the society it represented and defended. Told through the words of the people who lived it, The Fall of the House of Dixie illuminates the way a war undertaken to preserve the status quo became a second American Revolution whose impact on the country was as strong and lasting as that of our first.


In 1860 the American South was a vast, wealthy, imposing region where a small minority had amassed great political power and enormous fortunes through a system of forced labor. The South’s large population of slaveless whites almost universally supported the basic interests of plantation owners, despite the huge wealth gap that separated them. By the end of 1865 these structures of wealth and power had been shattered. Millions of black people had gained their freedom, many poorer whites had ceased following their wealthy neighbors, and plantation owners were brought to their knees, losing not only their slaves but their political power, their worldview, their very way of life. This sea change was felt nationwide, as the balance of power in Congress, the judiciary, and the presidency shifted dramatically and lastingly toward the North, and the country embarked on a course toward equal rights.


Levine captures the many-sided human drama of this story using a huge trove of diaries, letters, newspaper articles, government documents, and more. In The Fall of the House of Dixie, the true stakes of the Civil War become clearer than ever before, as slaves battle for their freedom in the face of brutal reprisals

Abraham Lincoln and his party turn what began as a limited war for the Union into a crusade against slavery by issuing the Emancipation Proclamation

poor southern whites grow increasingly disillusioned with fighting what they have come to see as the plantation owners’ war

and the slave owners grow ever more desperate as their beloved social order is destroyed, not just by the Union Army, but also from within. When the smoke clears, not only Dixie but all of American society is changed forever.


Brilliantly argued and engrossing, The Fall of the House of Dixie is a sweeping account of the destruction of the old South during the Civil War, offering a fresh perspective on the most colossal struggle in our history and the new world it brought into being.

Praise for The Fall of the House of Dixie


“This is the Civil War as it is seldom seen. . . . A portrait of a country in transition . . . as vivid as any that has been written.”The Boston Globe


“An absorbing social history . . . For readers whose Civil War bibliography runs to standard works by Bruce Catton and James McPherson, [Bruce] Levine’s book offers fresh insights.”The Wall Street Journal


“More poignantly than any book before, The Fall of the House of Dixie shows how deeply intertwined the Confederacy was with slavery, and how the destruction of both made possible a ‘second American revolution’ as far-reaching as the first.”—David W. Blight, author of American Oracle


“Splendidly colorful . . . Levine recounts this tale of Southern institutional rot with the ease and authority born of decades of study.”Kirkus Reviews (starred review)


“A deep, rich, and complex analysis of the period surrounding and including the American Civil War.”Publishers Weekly (starred review)


Awards

-- ''Confederate Emancipation: Southern Plans to Free and Arm Slaves During the Civil War'', received the Peter Seaborg Award for Civil War Scholarship and was named one of the ten best nonfiction books of 2005 by The Washington Post.