Catherine V. Bateson publishes new book on American Civil War songs

An image of a woman with blond hair wearing a red dress with navy detail.

The School of History has bolstered its reputation as an active research centre of U.S. history with the publication of Dr Catherine V. Bateson’s first monograph: Irish American Songs: Identity, Loyalty and Nationhood. The volume, published by Louisiana State University press on 30 September 2022, explores the culture, sentiments and experiences of Irish-born and descended American Civil War era soldiers and civilians.

Bringing together historical, social and musicological approaches, Catherine’s work offers a fascinating insight into not only how Irish-descended soldiers understood and perceived the American Civil War through creative song writing, but also how their lyrics and ballads contributed to the wider musical landscape of the period. Catherine’s work shines a light on an understudied and underappreciated source of contemporary opinions about the war, and paves the way for new areas for further investigation.

Irish American Songs’ publication is the result of many years’ research. “The book has been a labour of love for almost a decade,” says Catherine, reflecting on the writing process. “It’s great to be able to share these lyrics and the stories behind them with a wide audience.” Catherine also notes LSU Press’ work “creating a really beautiful book” for a wide audience.

Professor Mark Connelly, Head of the School of History, says: ‘As a School renowned for its international reputation in the fields of American History and Military History, I am delighted to see the publication of Catherine Bateson’s ground-breaking work which provides a major new contribution to our understandings of the American Civil War and its complex legacies.”

A green tinted book cover displaying an old photograph of Irish American soldiers during the American Civil War