The three books to be used in the “Making Sense of the American Civil War” Reading Series at the Coeur d’Alene Public Library are now available to pick up at the library’s Research and Information Desk.
The series commemorates the sesquicentennial of the American Civil War (1861-1865) and is presented in partnership with the Idaho Humanities Council. The five-meeting, scholar-led reading/discussion program will be offered in November and December.
The program is free but only 25 copies of each of the three books to be used in the series are available. Participants are asked to commit to attending all sessions in the series. Participants will also need a current Cooperative Information Network library card.
The five two-hour book discussions are scheduled for five Thursday evenings, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., on the following dates: Nov. 8, 15, 29, Dec. 13, and 20 in the library Community Room at 702 E. Front Ave.
To sign up for the series contact David Townsend, Library Communication Coordinator, at 208-769-2315 Ext. 426 or by e-mail at
“Making Sense of the Civil War,” is a program developed by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association to give a glimpse of the vast sweep and profound breadth of Americans’ war among and against themselves. The series is organized as a series of “conversations” that are meant to be considered together.
“Each conversation is itself arranged as an unfolding story, moving forward in time,” said Rick Ardinger, Executive Director of the Idaho Humanities Council. “Some of the readings were written by eye-witnesses, some written for perhaps only one other person to read, while others were well researched after the passage of time and imagined for vast audiences. And 150 years after the defining war in our nation’s history, Americans are still discovering its meanings.”
The discussion series is based on the readings of three books:
“March,” by Geraldine Brooks, is a Pulitzer Prize-winning historical novel which tells its story through the voices of characters from another novel, “Little Women,” by Louisa May Alcott.
“America’s War,” edited by historian Edward L. Ayers, is mostly a collection of writings by people who had to decide for themselves before and during the war where justice, honor, duty, and loyalty lay, including selections written by Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, Mark Twain, Henry David Thoreau, and many others.
“Crossroads of Freedom: Antietam,” by historian James McPherson, explores the battle in the fall of 1862 that changed the course of the Civil War.
Scholars who will lecture and facilitate discussions so far include University of Idaho History Professor and Dean of Letters Arts and Social Sciences Dr. Katherine Aiken, North Idaho College History Professor James Jewell, and Boise State University Andrus Center for Public Policy Director Dr. David Adler.
Patrons who need accommodation to participate in library programs or services are asked to contact the staff prior to the activity by calling 208-769-2315.