Excommunicated from the Union Now Available

Concept Cover Art for Excommunicated from the Union (2015), by William Kurtz.My first book, Excommunicated from the Union: How the Civil War Created a Separate Catholic America, is now available from Fordham University Press.

The journey of completing this work has been a long one. It first started in 2005, when as an undergraduate student on the advice of Dr. Dottie Pratt (then at the University of Notre Dame), I decided to apply for graduate school to pursue a PhD in history. She especially recommended the University of Virginia and Dr. Gary Gallagher and I was happy to start my master’s studies there in 2007. Originally I had wanted to study British-American relations during the mid-19th century. Gary wisely pointed out that there was a lot of room for new books on religious history during the 1860s, and so I decided instead to study the effect of the American Civil War on the Roman Catholic Church. Thus began one of the few studies of the Catholic community during this pivotal moment in history since 1945, when Rev. Benjamin Blied published his Catholics in the Civil War. Since Blied published his work there had been a few dissertations on the subject, but none of them had been published. I knew that my would be the first scholarly study of the Catholic Civil War effort in 70 years.

Graduating five years later in 2012, I was next introduced by my friend, Dr. Ryan Keating, to Dr. Andrew Slap at the Society of Civil War Historians Conference in Lexington, KY. Andy had just taken over as a new series editor (The North’s Civil War) at Fordham University Press. We began to talk about my project and I submitted a manuscript to Andy and Fordham in October 2012. I received a contract the following spring, and, after several rounds of revisions, I finished the book early in 2015, the last year of the Civil War sesquicentennial. I received the first copies of my book from Fordham this past Thanksgiving.

I owe many thanks to many people for making this work possible. Most of them are acknowledged in my book, but I want to say thank you again to Dr. Gallagher, Dr. Slap, and my wife Erin who were the three most important people in helping me to complete this book. I hope that my readers will enjoy it and that it will lead to even more studies of the Catholic Church during the Civil War Era.

The book is available from Fordham Press’s website, Amazon.com, and BarnesandNoble.com. I have tried to supplement the material in the book with blog posts on this site, all of which you can find here.