Neglected Book

Quinn, Peter, Banished Children of Eve (1994).

Historical fiction, when it's done well, can sometimes offer a more compelling treatment of historical issues than a monograph. I would classify Peter Quinn's Banished Children of Eve as a "neglected" work only in the sense that historians tend to overlook these kinds of books. But this book really provides a superb treatment of New York City during the Civil War and gives some of the most chilling accounts of the New York draft riots that I have read. It treats black New Yorkers with compassion and sensitivity (and a good deal of historical insight); and gives a marvelous portrait of a depressed and alcoholic Stephen Foster.

Recommended by Nina Silber, Boston University

Nina Silber is associate professor of history at Boston University, specializing in the Civil War, Reconstruction, and US women's history. Her books include The Romance of Reunion: Northerners and the South, 1865-1900 and Divided Houses: Gender and the Civil War.