In Civil War Humor, Cameron Nickels examines the various forms of comedic popular artifacts produced in America from 1861 to 1865. This is the first book to examine humorous popular culture produced during and about the Civil War.
The book features over 60 reproductions of illustrations and 30 complete texts that were created during the war, and provides close readings of these materials. The book takes an in-depth look at song lyrics, newspaper columns, sheet music covers, illustrations, political cartoons, fiction, light verse, paper dolls, printed envelopes, and penny dreadfuls—from and for both the Union and the Confederacy.
The Spring issue of Civil War Book Review has a nice treatment of Nickels' book.
The reviewer, T. Harrell Allen, called the book "a valuable contribution to a deeper understanding of the Civil War era and makes the reader reflect in a more thoughtful way on the role of humor in confronting the harsh realities of war."
He continued, writing, "The research of the topic is thorough and well-documented and the writing excellent."
Cameron Nickels is professor emeritus of English at James Madison University.