A Man by Any Other Name by Joseph M. Beilein Jr.

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A Man by Any Other Name: William Clarke Quantrill and the Search for American Manhood by Joseph M. Beilein Jr.

An in-depth examination of William Clarke Quantrill and notions of manhood during the Civil War

Few men of the Civil War era were as complicated or infamous as William Clarke Quantrill. Most who know him recognize him as the architect of the Confederate raid on Lawrence, Kansas, in August 1863 that led to the murder of 180 mostly unarmed men and boys. Before that, though, Quantrill led a transient life, shifting from one masculine form to another. He played the role of fastidious schoolmaster, rough frontiersman, and even confidence man, developing certain notions and skills on his way to becoming a proslavery bushwhacker. Quantrill remains impossible to categorize, a man whose motivations have been difficult to pin down. 

Using new documents and old documents examined in new ways, A Man by Any Other Name paints the most authentic portrait of Quantrill yet rendered. The detailed study of this man not only explores a one-of-a-kind enigmatic figure but also allows us entry into many representative experiences of the Civil War generation. This picture brings to life a unique vision of antebellum life in the territories and a fresh view of guerrilla warfare on the border. Of even greater consequence, seeing Quantrill in this way allows us to examine the perceived essence of American manhood in the mid-nineteenth century.

About the Author

JOSEPH M. BEILEIN JR. is an associate professor of history at Penn State Erie, Behrend. He is the author of Bushwhackers: Guerrilla Warfare, Manhood, and the Household in Civil War Missouri, editor of William Gregg’s Civil War: The Battle to Shape the History of Guerrilla Warfare (Georgia), and coeditor of The Civil War Guerrilla: Unfolding the Black Flag in History, Memory, and Myth.

Product Specifications

Published by University of Georgia Press, 2023.  Paperback, 282 pages.