Off the Shelf: Ted Genoways

September 14, 2009

September 14, 2009 — Ted Genoways, editor of the Virginia Quarterly Review, "Walt Whitman and the Civil War: America's Poet During the Lost Years of 1860-1862." University of California Press.

Through unpublished letters and rare manuscripts, "Ted Genoways' account fills a major gap in Walt Whitman's biography and shows the poet's active participation in the early Civil War period," notes the publisher. The book reveals Whitman's shock at the horrors of war before his legendary journey to Fredericksburg, correcting in part the poet's famous assertion that the "real war will never get in the books."

Edward L. Ayers, former history professor at U.Va. and currently president of the University of Richmond, said in his review, "This lovely portrait of Walt Whitman's life as the nation slid into the Civil War is a subtle and intricate gift. Ingeniously reconstructing a lost historical record, Genoways rescues a crucial period in the life of our greatest poet. In the process, he illuminates these mysterious years of the nation's past."