Edward H. Bonekemper

Edward H. Bonekemper

After decades of Civil War reading and with encouragement from his late father-in-law, Ed Bonekemper wrote a highly critical analysis of Robert E. Lee's Civil War generalship in his first book, HOW ROBERT E. LEE LOST THE CIVIL WAR. That book was successful in all respects and opened the door to a C-Span appearance and ultimately to hundreds of Civil War speaking engagements -- especially to Civil War Roundtables. In the course of researching his Lee book, Ed discovered that many "Lost Cause" and other pro-Lee historians had denigrated Ulysses S. Grant in order to deify Lee. So Ed next produced a positive analysis of Grant in A VICTOR, NOT A BUTCHER: ULYSSES S. GRANT'S OVERLOOKED MILITARY GENIUS. Another C-Span appearance followed. That book was published by Regnery History in 2004 and republished by Regnery History in 2010 as a softcover under the title ULYSSES S. GRANT: A VICTOR, NOT A BUTCHER. His next books were McCLELLAN AND FAILURE: A STUDY OF CIVIL WAR FEAR, INCOMPETENCE AND WORSE (McFarland, 2007), in which he discusses the abject failures and virtual treason of George B. McClellan, and GRANT AND LEE: VICTORIOUS AMERICAN AND VANQUISHED VIRGINIAN, in which he traces the careers and contemporaneous Civil War experiences of Grant and Lee. Through narrative and statistical analysis, Ed presents a compelling case for Grant being the greatest general of the Civil War and Lee being an overrated general who was more aggressive than the South needed or could afford and who was a Virginian first and a Confederate second. The Grant/Lee book was published by Praeger (now ABC-CLIO) as a hardcover in 2008 and by Regnery History as a softcover in 2012. Ed's fifth book was LINCOLN AND GRANT: THE WESTERNERS WHO WON THE CIVIL WAR. He explores the common backgrounds and personality traits of Lincoln and Grant, traces their pre-Civil War lives, focuses on their respective growth and successes during the Civil War, and provides a 50-page synopsis of the reasons for their success as one of the greatest partnerships in American history. That synopsis is available as a stand-alone e-book, LINCOLN AND GRANT'S TEAMWORK: KEYS TO THEIR CIVIL WAR SUCCESS. LINCOLN AND GRANT was published as a softcover by Regnery History in 2015. THE MYTH OF THE LOST CAUSE (Regnery History, 2015) is Ed’s most important book because it deals with many controversial issues that still resonate today. These include the cause of the Civil War, the nature of slavery, the likelihood of slavery disappearing without an explosive development such as the Civil War, and the alleged inevitability of Union victory in that war. Beginning in 2003, Ed became an adjunct lecturer in military history at his original alma mater, Muhlenberg College, in Allentown, PA. For eight years (2003-2010), he taught military history -- and writing skills -- to classes at Muhlenberg on the Civil War, World War II and American Military History. (In addition to his BA from Muhlenberg, Ed has an MA from Old Dominion University and a JD from Yale Law School.) Between 2010 and 2016, Ed served as the Book Review Editor of the CIVIL WAR NEWS, a national monthly newspaper. He also served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Quarryville, PA Library. For over fifteen years, Ed has discussed his six books and related Civil War topics at hundreds of Civil War Roundtables and other forums, such as the Smithsonian Institution (ten times), the Delta Queen, the Lincoln Forum of the District of Columbia, and The Chautauqua Institution. He lives with his wife Susan and their cockapoo Ruby in Pennsylvania. Susan taught kindergarten for 42 straight years and now volunteers at three local libraries and in dog therapy visitations with Ruby to hospice, skilled nursing, and oncology patients.
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