Battlefields of Honor: American Civil War Reenactors

Battlefields of Honor: American Civil War Reenactors. Photographs by Mark Elson, Text by Jeannine Stein (London: Merrell, 2012). 174 pp., 231 illus., col. and b&w. £25.00. ISBN 13: 978 1 8589 4578 1

This book will be mainly of interest to American Civil War re-enactors rather than dress historians. It consists principally of American Civil War re-enactors photographed in their costumes, often using a wet-plate photographic process, as would have been produced in the mid nineteenth century, rather than original period images or surviving garments. In the introduction, the comment is made that re-enactors ‘embrace various levels of authenticity’ some using polyester blend uniforms while others ‘pay excruciating attention to detail’.  

There is unfortunately little here for those whose interest lies in researching and making reproduction dress. There is some information in the introduction on the re-enactors who make their own clothes, and the merchants who provide for them, but the bulk of the book consists of the photographs.

Pat Poppy