Confederate Minds

The Struggle for Intellectual Independence in the Civil War South

By Michael T. Bernath

432 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 7 halftones, notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-0728-3
    Published: February 2013
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-0-8078-9565-8
    Published: July 2010
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-8154-0
    Published: July 2010

Civil War America

Buy this Book

For Professors:
Free E-Exam Copies

To purchase online via an independent bookstore, visit
During the Civil War, some Confederates sought to prove the distinctiveness of the southern people and to legitimate their desire for a separate national existence through the creation of a uniquely southern literature and culture. Michael Bernath follows the activities of a group of southern writers, thinkers, editors, publishers, educators, and ministers--whom he labels Confederate cultural nationalists--in order to trace the rise and fall of a cultural movement dedicated to liberating the South from its longtime dependence on Northern books, periodicals, and teachers. By analyzing the motives driving the struggle for Confederate intellectual independence, by charting its wartime accomplishments, and by assessing its failures, Bernath makes provocative arguments about the nature of Confederate nationalism, life within the Confederacy, and the perception of southern cultural distinctiveness.

About the Author

Michael T. Bernath is Charlton W. Tebeau Associate Professor in American History at the University of Miami.
For more information about Michael T. Bernath, visit the Author Page.


"This valuable work finally puts to rest the notion that the Confederacy was an intellectual wasteland and that Confederates had nothing to say aside from their rebel yell."--Journal of American History

"Provides meaningful insight into an understudied aspect of the Confederate experience. . . . An excellent book that deserves wide readership."--Civil War Book Review

“A remarkable array of evidence.”--Journal of Southern History

"Highly recommended."--Choice

"[Confederate Minds] is well written, amply researched and tightly argued. For those interested in the attempted development of a distinct Confederate culture, this book is a welcome contribution."--Civil War News

"A solid first book. . . . His discussion of how the Confederacy's intellectual class lamented their lack of original contributions is superb."--Virginia Magazine

Multimedia & Links

Read In a guest blog post, Michael T. Bernath highlights April 28 as the sesquicentennial anniversary of delegates from the Confederate states forming the South’s first and only national teachers’ organization. Read "Confederate Teachers United in a War of Their Own."