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A native of Tennessee, Professor Bonner is a historian of 19th century North America and the Kathe Tappe Vernon Professor in Biography. Most of his scholarship has focused on the sectional crisis that led free and slave states towards Civil War and then to an uneasy post-emancipation peace. Previous books include Colors and Blood: Flag Passions of the Confederate South (Princeton University Press), The Soldiers Pen: Firsthand Impressions of the American Civil War (Hill and Wang); and Mastering America: Southern Slaveholders and the Crisis of American Nationhood (Cambridge University Press). He has two books in progress: a biographical study of Confederate Vice-President Alexander H. Stephens titled Master of Lost Causes and an account of Confederate commerce raiding, privateering, and slave trading, titled Slaveocrats At Sea:The Global Menace of a Maritime Southern Confederacy . Among the primary themes of his scholarship is the problem of violence, the working of visual culture, and the metageographies of the American "South."
The Salt Water Civil War: Thalassological Approaches, Ocean-Centered Opportunities, Journal of the Civil War Era June, 2016
"Teaching the Civil War in a Global Context: A Discussion" Journal of the Civil War Era March, 2015.
“Proslavery Extremism Goes to War: The Counterrevolutionary Confederacy and Reactionary Militarism,” Modern Intellectual History 6 (September 2009) 261-285.
Master of Lost Causes: Alexander Stephens and the Legacy of Confederate Defeat