Books

Mourning Lincoln

Yale University Press 

The news of Abraham Lincoln’s death on April 15, 1865, just days after Confederate surrender, astounded the war-weary nation. Massive crowds turned out for services and ceremonies. Countless expressions of grief and dismay were printed in newspapers and preached in sermons. Public responses to the assassination have been well chronicled, but this book is the first to delve into the personal and intimate responses of everyday people—Northerners and Southerners, soldiers and civilians, black people and white, men and women, rich and poor. Through deep and thoughtful exploration of diaries, letters, and other personal writings penned during the spring and summer of 1865, Martha Hodes captures the full range of reactions to the president’s assassination—far more diverse than public expressions would suggest—telling a story of shock, glee, sorrow, anger, blame, and fear. Hodes brings to life a key moment of national uncertainty and confusion, when competing visions of the country’s future proved irreconcilable and hopes for racial justice in the aftermath of the Civil War slipped from the nation’s grasp. 



The Sea Captain’s Wife

A True Story of Love, Race, and War in the Nineteenth Century 

W. W. Norton 

The Sea Captain’s Wife brings readers into the extraordinary world of Eunice Connolly. Born white and poor in New England, Eunice followed her first husband to the Deep South and soon found her relatives fighting on opposite sides of the Civil War. Back in New England, Eunice and her children struggled to get by—until Eunice fell in love with a well-to-do black sea captain, married him, and moved to his home in the British Caribbean. Tracking every lead in a collection of 500 family letters, Hodes retraced Eunice’s footsteps and met descendants along the way. The Sea Captain’s Wife takes up grand themes of American history—war, racism, freedom—and along the way illuminates the lives of ordinary people in the past. For more information on The Sea Captain’s Wife, click here. 



White Women, Black Men

Illicit Sex in the Nineteenth-Century South 

Yale University Press 

White Women, Black Men is the first book to explore the history of one of the most explosive categories of illicit sex in American history. Striking at fundamental understandings of race and sexuality, Hodes demonstrates that only with the advent of black freedom after the Civil War did sex between white women and black men provoke extreme white alarm. Following the upheaval of war and emancipation, transgressors were targeted by the Ku Klux Klan in a pattern of violence that culminated in unprecedented white terrorism by the end of the century.  



Sex, Love, Race

Crossing Boundaries in North American History  

New York University Press 

Sex, Love, Race is a collection of 24 essays that span the colonial era through the 1960s, encompass every region of the nation, and uncover histories of people of Indian, European, African, and Asian descent. The contributors together partake in ongoing scholarly debates about the history of sexuality, and the history and meaning of race and racial categories.