Major New Book Published by NUI Galway Historian on the American Civil War

Sep 11 2018 Posted: 09:43 IST

A new book, Civil War and Agrarian Unrest: The Confederate South and Southern Italy, has been published by NUI Galway historian, Professor Enrico Dal Lago. The book will be officially launched by distinguished historian Professor Nicholas Canny, former President of the Royal Irish Academy and member of the European Research Council, in the Moore Institute, NUI Galway on Wednesday, 19 September at 5pm.

Civil War and Agrarian Unrest: The Confederate South and Southern Italy analyses the American Civil War and the effects of slave emancipation in comparative perspective with another, little-known, civil war fought prevalently by southern Italian peasants against the Italian government in the same years 1861-65.

The 150th anniversary of the American Civil War (2011-15) sparked renewed interest all over the world in the violent end of slavery in the United States. The effects of the conflict still remain, with numerous films, books, and series exploring Abraham Lincoln’s effort as President to end slavery and the defeat of the Southern Confederate forces. 

Professor Dal Lago takes a comparative approach in order to challenge assumptions about the nature of Confederate nationalism. The elitism and intolerance of the Southern states’ social order, based on hierarchy, makes it very comparable to nineteenth-century Italian nationalism. He compares the resistance activity of American slaves with the rebellion staged by southern Italian peasants. The goal of both groups was the acquisition of land, not just freedom.

Professor Daniel Carey, Director of the Moore Institute at NUI Galway, said: “This major study establishes Professor Dal Lago as the leading historian charting new ways of thinking about American slavery. His use of comparison casts new light on this painful legacy, reminding us that conflicts of this kind were not isolated affairs but part of a wider struggle among ordinary people in what might be called the agrarian world.”

For more information contact Professor Dal Lago at


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