Andrew Lang specializes in the history of nineteenth-century America, using the era of the American Civil War as a lens through which to investigate the century’s dynamic setting. The Society of Civil War Historians endowed his first book, In the Wake of War: Military Occupation, Emancipation, and Civil War America (LSU Press 2017), with the 2018 Tom Watson Brown Book Award. More than 50 books published in 2017 competed for the award given annually by the principal professional organization in Civil War Era history. The prize recognizes “the best book published on the causes, conduct, and effects, broadly defined, of the Civil War,” measured by original scholarly contributions. The book approaches military occupation through the eyes of the occupier—rather than the occupied—in three separate yet intimately connected conflicts: the Mexican-American War, Civil War, and Reconstruction. Wars of occupation were just as complex, dynamic, and consequential as those waged on the front lines. Exploring the unprecedented role of American armies in international and domestic wars and crises, In the Wake of War considers how occupation brought white and African American soldiers face-to-face with a host of critical problems in nineteenth-century America: the relationship between citizen and government; the balance between republican corporatism and democratic individualism; faith in the “exceptional” nature of Union; the process of emancipation, and the military at the vanguard of social and political change; the tensions of race in a white democracy; the intricate negotiation of gender roles; the limits of free-market capitalism; the boundaries of restricted warfare; the role of standing armies in the American imagination; and the uncertain scope of the federal state in the long, perplexing transition from war to peace. The prize committee deemed In the Wake of War “one of the very best examples of a social-cultural history of the army to be done for the Civil War,” one that “makes good use of cultural, social, and political history, as well as military theory.”
He is the lead co-author of the final volume in UNC Press’s Littlefield History of the Civil War Era, a “landmark series” that offers a comprehensive narrative of mid-nineteenth-century American history. The American Civil War and the World: Limited War, Limited Peace explores how Americans across social and racial spectrums directly yet incompatibly connected their domestic national lives to the nineteenth-century Atlantic world’s civil conflicts, revolutionary movements, and reconfigurations of state authority. Conflicting interpretations of American democracy, set against perceptions of international radicalism and global revolution, informed the coming of the Civil War, shaped its conduct, influenced the process of emancipation, and posed significant implications to national restoration and hemispheric reorganization.