- Hide menu


Financial Fraud and Guerrilla Violence in Missouri’s Civil War, 1861-1865
(Yale University Press, 2010)

“Strikingly fresh […], heavily researched and fully documented, Geiger breaks much new ground in his eye-opening description of the previously unknown bank fraud and in his wider evaluations of how it shaped the conflict. Along the way he offers additional food for thought about how Civil War-era states intially paid for the war. Geiger has written a significant book that students of the Civil War state, or the insurgents who disrupted it, must consider.”
American Historical Review

“On occasion one comes across a historical monograph so precise in its research design, so imaginative in its search for documentation, so innovative in its making connections between social and economic developments, and so evocative in its implications that one is left nearly wordless. Such is the work that Mark W. Geiger has produced.”
Journal of Southern History

“An impressively inventive and provocative first book.”
—Civil War Book Review

“A groundbreaking study in economic and social history.”
Journal of Interdisciplinary History

“Geiger’s splendid book reminds us that wars must be financed as well as fought.”
Business History Review

“With its innovative research and novel interpretation, the book is the most important work on Missouri’s regional guerrilla war since Michael Fellman’s landmark study Inside War.”
Journal of the Civil War Era

“Geiger’s approach may be the most innovative to appear in Civil War history in the past decade.”
Economic History Review

“The Union’s success in holding Missouri was arguably one of the major reasons for the Confederacy’s defeat. Thanks to Geiger’s meticulously researched and engagingly written book, we now know that, had the state’s planters and bankers succeeded in their plot, the war’s outcome would likely have been quite different.”
Journal of American History

Other Praise for
Financial Fraud and Guerrilla Violence in Missouri’s Civil War:

“The most original book about the Civil War in the last several years […] It was a delight to read. This is what historians do when they’re on their game.”
Civil War Talk Radio

“In this remarkable new book, Mark Geiger uncovers an audacious financial conspiracy that has eluded previous historians, to divert funds from the banks of Missouri to arm rebel military forces at the outbreak of the Civil War. The disastrous consequences stretched far into the postwar era, as documented by Geiger’s meticulous research. This is first-rate economic and social history, and it also happens to be a cracking good story.”
Gavin Wright, Stanford University

“This is an important book, period. Geiger persuasively explains the intensity of guerrilla conflict in Missouri. No one knew about the financial frauds that lay at the heart of Missouri’s guerrilla problem until Geiger discovered the evidence of it in obscure county court records and reached his astounding conclusion: financial schemes to lend money to the Confederacy from Missouri banks bankrupted the planter aristocracy of the state and made the sons of the planters a desperate class from which to recruit the bitterest and most destructive guerrillas in America’s Civil War. In short, this is one of the finest monographs on the Civil War I have read in twenty-five years.”
Mark E. Neely Jr., Pennsylvania State University, winner of the 1992 Pulitzer Prize in history for The Fate of Liberty: Abraham Lincoln and Civil Liberties

“This study bridges financial, political, social, and Civil War history in an exciting, creative way. Using as his jumping off point a series of law suits filed in Missouri during the Civil War to recover bank loans granted to Confederate sympathizers, Geiger is able to map the spread of both the ‘market revolution’ and slavery through the region, shed new light on the politics of this important border state, illuminate the techniques used by both the North and the South to finance the Civil War in its early stages, and explain the unique course of the war and its aftermath in the region—the vigor of the guerilla movement in Missouri and the failure of elite planters to reestablish their dominance.”
Naomi R. Lamoreaux, Yale University

“In American memory, the Civil War was fought on fields of honor, where armies met in formal battles under such icons as Grant and Lee. But in the border state of Missouri, far from Gettysburg and Shiloh, a bitter guerrilla conflict turned neighbor against neighbor in a spiral of atrocities and martial law. Unfortunately, our understanding of that terrible episode has long been shaped by unquestioned assumptions and comforting legends—many involving Frank and Jesse James, who fought as Confederate guerrillas. Now Mark Geiger, through startlingly original research, provides a provocative new perspective on Missouri’s Civil War. A fascinating study that historians will find impossible to ignore.”
T.J. Stiles, author of Jesse James: Last Rebel of the Civil War and The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt, winner of the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize

“This brilliant and wide-ranging book rightly places Civil War finances at the heart of the Civil War. Fraud produced debts that were bound to be collected. Repossessions could destabilize a whole society. It is a lesson worth remembering.”
— Scott Nelson, College of William and Mary