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Key West's Civil War: 'Rather Unsafe For A Southern Man To Live Here' Bicentennial Edition

Key West's Civil War: 'Rather Unsafe For A Southern Man To Live Here' Bicentennial Edition, by John Bernhard Thuersam whose publication is timed to coincide with the bicentennial celebration of the 'founding' of Key West in 1822. It is, as Professor Clyde Wilson says in his foreword, "...good to find a genuine original contribution to the war's history like Mr. Thuersam's account of Key West under occupation." Through the use of many original sources such as newspapers, private correspondence, other contemporary works and other historians who have touched on Key West, the author paints a picture of the people of Key West which includes both the residents and the members of the occupying forces. Some are already well-known like Stephen Mallory (Confederate Secretary of the Navy) and Felix Senac who was both US Navy Paymaster and Confederate Paymaster and purchasing agent in Europe. Many others, not so famous, paint a picture of the daily life and times of the ordinary people inhabiting Key West during the War of Northern Conquest.

Mr. Thuersam puts all of his many characters into context against the backdrop of events elsewhere during the war. It gives one a sense of entering the milieu of the times and a greater understanding of the issues which concerned ordinary men during those times. It all hangs together nicely despite a typo here and there as an introduction to the value of Key West and its place in the larger arena of national and international events of the day.

Mr. Thuersam is currently director and editor of the online historical resource, the Cape Fear Historical Institute (, and authors an online War Between the States blog ( He also served as Chariman of the North Carolina War Between the State Sesquicentennial Commission from 2011-2015, and authored its website (

Available at Shotwell Publishing: ebook, Available at Amazon in paperback.

Review written by Howard Talley
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