For Slavery and Union: Benjamin Buckner and Kentucky Loyalties in the Civil War (Kentucky, 2015) is a major reconsideration of Civil War-era Kentucky. Through the life of one individual, the book sweeps through the 19th century—moving from slavery through the war and into the Jim Crow South.
The book unites the fractured story of Kentucky history. It brings together politics, economics, society, and culture. By focusing on one individual who is both shaped by his world and, in turn, shapes our own, For Slavery and Union does what other histories have struggled to do.
While historically important, For Slavery and Union is also an active and engaging story. Benjamin Buckner and his wife Helen are the center of a fascinating group of characters, through whom readers can understand the complexities and contradictions of a southern state, a slave state, and a Union state.