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



Pub Date: 09/01/2023

ISBN: 9-780-8203-6452-0

List Price: $26.95


Pub Date: 09/01/2023

ISBN: 9-780-8203-6451-3

List Price: $114.95

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

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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

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.