Extreme Civil War

Extreme Civil War: Guerrilla Warfare, Environment, and Race on the Trans-Mississippi Frontier, by Matthew M. Stith

Extreme Civil War book coverWith the horrific and well documented excesses of the wars of the twentieth century serving as the benchmark for many when describing mankind at its worst, most observers are loath to place the American Civil War in the same category. However, there were pockets of Civil War conflict that did approach what some might call "total war," and one such area is examined in historian Matthew Stith's Extreme Civil War. Instead of once again revisiting the bloody lower Kansas-Missouri border, Stith's study shifts the nexus of people and events southward in a fresher direction to encompass not only those sections of Kansas and Missouri but also large swaths of NE Indian Territory and NW Arkansas. If ever there was a true Civil War "no man's land", one with a near complete breakdown of society, commerce, law, and order within its boundaries, it was this rugged and largely underdeveloped borderland shared by Kansas, Missouri, Indian Territory and Arkansas.

 In Extreme Civil War: Guerrilla Warfare, Environment, and Race on the Trans-Mississippi Frontier, Stith traces the near absolute disintegration of a frontier border society only recently placed on the road to prosperity. Railroads were still absent from the region in 1860, but white settlements and some industrial developments (like the lead mines at Granby) were prospering and tribes traumatically resettled to the Indian Territory (like the relatively populous Cherokee) were regaining their footing. As the book amply shows, the war dramatically halted this shared growth and progress, changing all of it for the worse. (From the Publisher)