Robert Mackey, formerly assistant professor of history at the United States Military Academy, is a consultant at the National Counterterrorism Center in Washington, D.C., and writes extensively on military history.
Heroes and Cowards: The Social Face of War by Dora L. Costa and Matthew E. Kahn, Princeton University Press, 315 pages, $27.95
The American Civil War has long been a staple of the publishing industry. Hundreds of books come out each year, ranging from yet another biography of Robert E. Lee to "drums and bugles" hard-core military histories of specific battles and campaigns. Very few break new ground or bring to light any new discoveries, and even fewer have any relevance beyond the four years of fratricidal homicide. Dora L. Costa and Matthew E. Kahn's Heroes and Cowards is a rarity -- a book about the Civil War on its surface but with application well outside the conflict.