Civil War

The Library of Congress

The name Boston Corbett might not ring a bell, but his claim to fame — killing John Wilkes Booth — was only one of many events in the man’s bizarre life.

After he shot Lincoln’s killer (through the slats of a burning tobacco barn), Corbett's winding path brought him to Kansas, where he lived until his death.

These events are chronicled by historian Scott Martelle, who has just published The Madman and the Assassin: The Strange Life of Boston Corbett, the man who killed John Wilkes Booth, the first full-length biography of Corbett.

The name Boston Corbett may not ring a bell, but the man who killed John Wilkes Booth led a life filled with strange and unbelievable events.  Meet the madman who spent the final years of his life in Kansas. 

Guest:

In 1915, a famous director and an aggressive journalist battled over the inherent racism in the film, The Birth of a Nation. On this edition of Up to Date, Steve Kraske talks with author Dick Lehr about the controversy behind this influential and infamous film. 

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Behind the front lines of the Civil War, a world of spies lurked, full of cloak, dagger and... petticoats?

On Thursday's Up to Date, we talk about the true stories of four women who became spies-- some for the North and some for the South.

Guest:

  • Karen Abbott, author of Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War
Missouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library

If you've ever noticed plaques in Kansas City's Westport district describing Civil War-era events, then you have at least a little background on the Battle of Westport, a series of battles that ended in a decisive Union victory and emancipation for slaves in Missouri.

The Battle Of Westport 150 Years Later

Jun 19, 2014
Newell Convers Wyeth / Missouri State Capitol

In October of 1864, Kansas City played host to a dramatic clash of Union and Confederate forces. Thousands of troops squared off along Brush Creek and Blue River in the Battle of Westport, the largest Civil War battle west of the Mississippi River. On Thursday's Up to Date Steve Kraske talks with preservationist Daniel Smith about the legacy of the "Gettysburg of the West."

www.randomhouse.com

Bestselling author Jeff Shaara is renowned for his gritty depiction of Civil War battles. His fictionalized accounts of the historical events have appeared in previous works and he returns with his latest offering, The Smoke at Dawn. On Tuesday's Up to Date Steve Kraske talks with the author about how he fleshes out the known facts and in doing so creates a detailed account of the War Between the States.

Bleeding Kansas wasn’t just a figurative term, and if you need proof, just look at Quantrill’s Raid on Lawrence.

On Wednesday's Up to Date, we examine the circumstances that led to the famous massacre, from the 1861 sacking of Osceola in slave-state Missouri to other rising violence of the Civil War with guests Jonathan Earle and Diane Mutti Burke, who edited Bleeding Kansas, Bleeding Missouri: The Long Civil War on the Border.

Guests:

Pull off a bank job in the Wild West with Jesse James, join Ulysses S. Grant as he leads Union troops into the entrenched Confederate stronghold of Vicksburg and solve the puzzle of a woman's month of madness.

On Wednesday's Up to Date, we talk with the authors of the latest titles on Steve’s Bookshelf:

It’s been 150 years since the muskets fired and men in both blue and gray fell to the ground at battleground in Pennsylvania. Gettysburg’s dubious distinction was to have the most casualties of any battle of the Civil War. 

On Monday's Up to Date, Steve Kraske talks with Allen Guelzo, author of Gettysburg: The Last Invasion, about the politics and power plays that surrounded the famous battle.

The History Press

When the Confederate Army was pushed from Missouri, a slave state that hadn't ceded from the Union, in late 1861 ordinary people transformed themselves into guerilla fighters for the confederate cause.  A mayor's son and town teacher were among those who found themselves part of one of the most violent band of guerilla fighters lead by "Bloody" Bill Anderson.  After the war they became notable bank and train robbers.  But, there were also ordinary citizens who dedicated their lives to hunting these guerillas down, sometimes with equal violence.  Author James "Jim" W.

Beth Lipoff/KCUR

Go to enough Kansas and Missouri historical spots, and you'll find many of them are steeped in the history of the Civil War.

Rainy Day Books

In 1862, Abraham Lincoln glued together pieces of a fractured nation to support his cause against all odds. But how did he do it?

Shiloh stands as one of the bloodiest clashes in American history, one sealed the fate of the Civil War and cemented the long, drawn out conflict that followed the 1862 battle.

The construction of the U.S. Capitol began with a building plan adopted in 1793.  Its history of being built, burnt, rebuilt & extended meant its completion came at the most crucial point in our nation’s development: the Civil War.

KC History: Small-Scale Slavery In Missouri

Feb 17, 2012
Courtesy of the Missouri History Museum Phoographs and Prints Collectiojns, St. Louis.

On Friday's Walt Bodine Show, co-host Monroe Dodd discusses the history of small-scale slavery in Missouri with Diane Mutti Burke.