By David Merkowitz

In the pre-Civil War United States, one found a nation divided into three sections—the North centered in New England with the Mid-Atlantic a conflicted participant; the South beginning in Virginia and running down the coast and west toward Texas; and the West starting in the lands of the Northwest Territory and stretching into Kansas. In The Rivers Ran Backward: The Civil War and the Remaking of the American Middle Border, University of Cincinnati professor Christopher Phillips narrows the focus to the lands drained by the Ohio River and the eastern section of the Missouri River. This places his story in the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, and Kentucky.

While the most famous Civil War battles took place in the East and South, the Civil War in the Old Northwest was more personal and divisive than elsewhere, truly brother against brother.

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