Near Andersonville: Winslow Homer's Civil War


Product Details

Harvard University Press
Publish Date
5.6 X 8.68 X 0.63 inches | 0.72 pounds

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About the Author

Peter H. Wood is history professor emeritus at Duke University and author of Strange New Land: African Americans, 1526-1776, among others.


Wood's detective work and his interpretive conclusions persuade us that Homer understood and was affected by the moral ramifications of the Civil War and that he felt deep empathy toward the African Americans caught up in the conflict.--Patricia Hills, Boston University
What a wonderful book Peter Wood has written. He has taken one of Winslow Homer's most rarely studied paintings and, literally and metaphorically, given it back its story. In the process Near Andersonville becomes both a window opening onto the past and a mirror reflecting our own time.--Marc Simpson, Associate Director, Graduate Program in the History of Art, Williams College
An enormously creative and insightful new perspective on one of the most important and tragic episodes in American history. Wood's sensitive and intelligent reading of Homer's works shows that there are indeed many ways to illuminate the past.--Annette Gordon-Reed, author of The Hemingses of Monticello
Wood has unraveled the deep and subtle meanings expressed in Near Andersonville. The ambiguities of slavery and freedom, of the past and future framed by war, are brilliantly analyzed in this powerful and compelling book.--James M. McPherson, author of Battle Cry of Freedom
A magnificently focused meditation that arrives at a completely fresh perspective on the painting and its precise Civil War background. Readers will see Homer's Near Andersonville anew after engaging with Peter Wood's literally eye-opening work.--Werner Sollors, Harvard University
Peter Wood is one of the most curious, original, and rewarding historians of our time and in Near Andersonville all his talents are on full display. Part detective story, part history, and part art criticism, this book is a masterpiece.--John Stauffer, author of Black Hearts of Men
In his engrossing book by the same name, Wood argues that [Homer's] Near Andersonville "explores the question" of "What happens...if any part of the Civil War drama is viewed explicitly from the vantage point of the enslaved." Wood offers an illuminating, if at times speculative, reading of the image...His careful reconstruction of the painting's provenance, and his account of the discovery of the painting's title, are every bit as rewarding as his careful analysis of the visual symbolism of the painting itself.-- (12/09/2010)
In Near Andersonville, Wood tells the captivating story of an abandoned painting with the meticulousness of a historian and the panache of a novelist. More than just an enigmatic painting, Near Andersonville is a testament to the passions of white abolitionists, and the halting confusion of the freed slaves they cared for. This short book is a quick, learned, and touching read.-- (03/01/2011)
[A] jewel of a book...This study began as a series of Nathan Huggins Lectures at Harvard, and it reads just like a really good lecture: engaging, informative, easy to listen to, and fully thought provoking. Wood, no stranger to Homer, having coauthored a study of the painter's images of African Americans in 1988, accomplishes the deceptively difficult task of making a subject about which he knows a great deal entirely accessible to anyone who wants to pick up this book.-- (09/01/2011)