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A Union Tested: Letters from the Civil War with Jeremy Neely

Cimbaline Fike
Cimbaline Fike

In this episode of Talking History, Djene and Patrick speak to Civil War historian, Dr. Jeremy Neely, about his forthcoming book, A Union Tested, which examines a collection of letters between Cimbaline Fike, a homemaker from Illinois, and her husband, Henry, who served as an officer in the Union Army. What hardships did Cimbaline face when her husband departed for the front? How did this experience change her? And what do the Fikes teach us about the social impact of the Civil War?

In Talking History Extra, continued at 22:52 in the audio, we continue the discussion on the Fikes’, examine some of the common misconceptions regarding the Civil War, and get Dr. Neely’s book recommendations.

  • Christopher Phillips, The Rivers Ran Backward: The Civil War and the Remaking of the American Middle Border (Oxford, 2016)
  • Keri Leigh Merritt, Masterless Men: Poor Whites and Slavery in the Antebellum South (Cambridge, 2017)
  • Chandra Manning, What This Cruel War Was Over: Soldiers, Slavery, and the Civil War (Vintage, 2007)
  • Jim Downs, Sick from Freedom: African-American Illness and Suffering during the Civil War and Reconstruction (Oxford, 2015)
  • Amy Murrell Taylor, Embattled Freedom: Journeys through the Civil War's Slave Refugee Camps (University of North Carolina, 2018)
Dr. Jeremy Neely
Dr. Jeremy Neely

Jeremy Neely is an assistant professor of history at Missouri State University and the author of The Border between Them: Violence and Reconciliation on the Kansas-Missouri Line (University of Missouri Press, 2011). He teaches courses on the Civil War and Reconstruction, military history, and the history of Missouri. His latest book, A Union Tested, will be available in 2024.

Djene Bajalan is a historian and a member of the faculty in the Department of History at Missouri State University. He was born, raised, and educated in the United Kingdom and holds a DPhil in Oriental Studies from the University of Oxford. His research focuses on the Ottoman Empire and he teaches courses on the history of the Middle East.<br/><br/>
Patrick Needham is a mechanic and fabricator with a love for History. Born in Colorado and raised in Taney County, Missouri, Pat loves the Ozarks with the zeal of a convert. Not formally trained in History, he brings an everyman touch to the show. He hopes his fellow Ozarkers find lessons and parallels in the past.