A Man by Any Other Name

William Clarke Quantrill and the Search for American Manhood

Title Details

Pages: 282

Illustrations: 4 b&w images

Trim size: 6.000in x 9.000in

Formats

Paperback

Pub Date: 09/01/2023

ISBN: 9-780-8203-6452-0

List Price: $26.95

Hardcover

Pub Date: 09/01/2023

ISBN: 9-780-8203-6451-3

List Price: $114.95

eBook

Pub Date: 09/01/2023

ISBN: 9-780-8203-6453-7

List Price: $26.95

eBook

Pub Date: 09/01/2023

ISBN: 9-780-8203-6454-4

List Price: $26.95

A Man by Any Other Name

William Clarke Quantrill and the Search for American Manhood

An in-depth examination of William Clarke Quantrill and notions of manhood during the Civil War

Skip to

  • Description
  • Reviews

Few men of the Civil War era were as complicated or infamous as William Clarke Quantrill. Most who know him recognize him as the architect of the Confederate raid on Lawrence, Kansas, in August 1863 that led to the murder of 180 mostly unarmed men and boys. Before that, though, Quantrill led a transient life, shifting from one masculine form to another. He played the role of fastidious schoolmaster, rough frontiersman, and even confidence man, developing certain notions and skills on his way to becoming a proslavery bushwhacker. Quantrill remains impossible to categorize, a man whose motivations have been difficult to pin down.

Using new documents and old documents examined in new ways, A Man by Any Other Name paints the most authentic portrait of Quantrill yet rendered. The detailed study of this man not only explores a one-of-a-kind enigmatic figure but also allows us entry into many representative experiences of the Civil War generation. This picture brings to life a unique vision of antebellum life in the territories and a fresh view of guerrilla warfare on the border. Of even greater consequence, seeing Quantrill in this way allows us to examine the perceived essence of American manhood in the mid-nineteenth century.

In A Man by Any Other Name, Beilein has crafted a biography of a man, essentially unknown, whose actions make him an important figure in the Civil War as it was fought on the western borderland. Quantrill is representative of hundreds of comparable figures who fade into and out of communities’ contested regions. What Beilein has done here is give life to an individual and a broader group that desperately need to be known by modern scholars.

—Brian D. McKnight, coeditor of The Guerrilla Hunters: Irregular Conflicts During the Civil War

A Man by Any Other Name is not a traditional cradle-to-grave biography of a Civil War figure. It might be fair to categorize it as an episodic psycho-biography that seeks to understand its seemingly unknowable subject in deeper ways than those attempted by earlier biographers.

—Civil War Books and Authors

A new generation of scholars has taken to the study of the Civil War’s wiliest warriors. A Man by Any Other Name is a critical entry in this latest wave of scholarship: giving readers deep insight into the challenge of researching men, like William Clarke Quantrill, who operated on the margins of history. . . . [T]hese new works also seek to understand the Civil War’s guerrillas in the context of their own society and time, rather than viewing them through a comparative lens. Beilein does the former exceptionally well, an achievement that will make this study standard reading for many years to come.

—Cecily N. Zander, The Civil War Monitor

For the reader who is new to Quantrill or knows little about his life Beilein’s biography is a good accompaniment as a tool to understanding the man behind the guerilla mask, as well as the ideologies of Southern partisans within the context of nineteenth-century American manhood.

—Sheritta Bitikofer, Emerging Civil War

About the Author/Editor

JOSEPH M. BEILEIN JR. is an associate professor of history at Penn State Erie, Behrend. He is the author of Bushwhackers: Guerrilla Warfare, Manhood, and the Household in Civil War Missouri, editor of William Gregg’s Civil War: The Battle to Shape the History of Guerrilla Warfare (Georgia), and coeditor of The Civil War Guerrilla: Unfolding the Black Flag in History, Memory, and Myth.