In 2013 the University of North Carolina Press published David T. Gleeson's The Green and the Gray: The Irish in the Confederate States of America. It is a sprawling study that is already receiving high praise from historians and journalists. In the Boston Globe Michael Kenney writes "As his analysis unfolds, there is much that will surprise, perhaps even unsettle, Boston readers familiar with the abolitionists, the Massachusetts 54th, and the summertime encampments of reenactors. Gleeson looks at the role of Irish-Americans in the Southern debate over slavery, in the Confederate Army, on the homefront, and in the aftermath of the defeat." Over at the Irish Times Myles Dungan seems to agree. "Gleeson goes well beyond the merely anecdotal," says Dungan. Gleeson conveys "a sense of what it was to be an Irish immigrant in the southern states that formed the Confederacy between 1861 and 1865."
David Gleeson is no stranger to the subject. He has been writing and teaching on 19th century history, the South, and the Civil War for many years now. A reader in history at Northumbria University he is the editor of The Irish in the Atlantic World (University of South Carolina Press, 2010) and the author of The Irish in the South, 1815-1877 (University of North Carolina Press, 2001).
In the interview embedded below, I speak with David about researching and writing The Green and the Grey. David also talks about the role of memory in the post Civil War South and discusses the ways that his work fits into the wider field of southern and Civil War history.