My Book: Catholics in the Civil War

Excommunicated from the Union: How the Civil War Created a Separate Catholic America. Fordham University Press (Forthcoming December 1, 2015).

Copy of Gettysburg Statue at Notre Dame with the Basilica in the Background.My book, which is based on my dissertation, is finally off to the copy editors. All that remains now is to deal with any changes at that stage, obtain a cover photo, and get permissions for illustrations in my book.

As the title suggests, I argue that the conflict did not integrate Catholics more fully into American society after the war. Rather, the war and the periods of nativism before and after it reinforced the conviction of many Catholic leaders that they needed some kind of separation from the hostile forces surrounding them if they wanted to maintain their faith free from harassment by the non-Catholic majority. I argue that the religious dimensions of this story were often just as important as the ethnic, political, or class ones. The book starts with the Mexican War, goes through the war, and then discusses post-war efforts to remember Catholic sacrifice on behalf of the nation. Notre Dame’s Father Corby, pictured at the left, will play a prominent role in many chapters and the conclusion.

The book will be released on December 1, 2015 and is now available for pre-order on