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Blood: Stories of Life and Death from the Civil War
     

Blood: Stories of Life and Death from the Civil War

by Peter Kadzis (Editor)
 

The Civil War — the bloodiest, most dramatic moment in this nation's history — also produced some of the country's greatest literature. Blood reflects the violent hatred, love, patriotism, and heroism this conflict generated through the vivid stories of the men and women who were there. This collection includes Ulysses S. Grant (via the rumored pen of

Overview

The Civil War — the bloodiest, most dramatic moment in this nation's history — also produced some of the country's greatest literature. Blood reflects the violent hatred, love, patriotism, and heroism this conflict generated through the vivid stories of the men and women who were there. This collection includes Ulysses S. Grant (via the rumored pen of Mark Twain) recounting the taking of Vicksburg; Theodore Lyman watching Grant come into his own on his first drive toward Richmond; George Templeton Strong describing the horror of the New York Draft Riots; and plantation owner Mary Chestnut's report on the final days before the fall of Atlanta. Also included are firsthand accounts ranging from Pickett's Charge to Sherman's March, from Lee's Virginia campaigns to the heroism of African American foot soldiers, as well as excerpts from some of the most notable fiction on the subject.

Editorial Reviews

KLIATT
General William T. Sherman's trenchant observation on war—that it is Hell personified—appears obvious on the face of it. Nevertheless, editor Peter Kadzis seems determined to prove that point beyond all doubt. This book is a collection of excerpts from Civil War writings, both fiction and nonfiction, carefully chosen to emphasize the human suffering brought about by bullet and bayonet, cannonball and starvation, during the great conflict. The sensationalism of this premise is muted somewhat by the caliber of authors represented: Stephen Crane, Shelby Foote, Thomas W. Higginson, and even Walt Whitman and Sherman himself. Only Mackinley Kantor, dwelling on the horrors of Andersonville, is missing and his place is ably taken by a survivor of the infamous prison. The publisher, Adrenaline Books, has become expert at this genre; it has produced an entire series of danger-survival books on various wars and themes. Having said all this, it must be observed that this title is not without some value. The Civil War was indeed horrific, and history, to be respected, must be studied from all angles. YAs disinclined to pick up an acclaimed classic like The Red Badge of Courage or Higginson's memoir of black soldiers will be seduced into expanding their horizons even as they enjoy the adventure tales. KLIATT Codes: JSA—Recommended for junior and senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2000, Thunder's Mouth Press/Adrenaline, dist. by Publishers Group West, 305p, 23cm, 00-021768, $16.95. Ages 13 to adult. Reviewer: Raymond L. Puffer, Ph.D.; Historian, Edwards Air Force Base, CA, September 2000 (Vol. 34 No. 5)
Library Journal
This collection consists of 13 well-written adventure tales taken from books, magazines, and online articles published in 1999 and 2000. Prefaced with a pertinent photograph and a brief introduction of the narrative to follow, the pieces include "Into the Jaws of Destiny," writer Bill Belleville's account of diving with sharks, and "Being Prey," Val Plumwood's description of being attacked by a crocodile. Current as well as historic adventures are featured, including accounts of journalist Michael Finkel's travels with Haitian refugees in a leaky, 23' boat and an 1884 shipwreck that resulted in cannibalism. This anthology will no doubt interest adventure story lovers, but it most likely will not appeal to casual readers. Recommended only for larger public libraries.--Alison Hopkins, Queens Borough P.L., Jamaica, NY Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Booknews
A collection of writings by men and women on both sides of the Civil War, drawing on the work of classic authors at their best. George Pickett at Gettysburg writes a love letter to his wife while he awaits orders to make the most disastrous charge in American history. Walt Whitman describes the everyday dramas he witnessed as a volunteer at Union Army hospitals. Stephen Crane conveys the impersonal brutality that a man experiences when a stranger shoots him. Includes b&w historical photos. Lacks a subject index. Kadzis is editor of the . Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Kirkus Reviews
An extraordinary collection of reminiscences, short fiction, and excerpts (from diaries and memoirs and letters) by an array of soldiers, professional writers, and assorted observers of the Civil War. In his brief introduction, Boston Phoenix editor Kadzis declares that he presents these "shards of testimony" to "suggest the breadth and depth of the Civil War experience." As might be predicted, some shards are sharper than others, but all of them have an edge. To General Pickett, for example, the artillery fire at Gettysburg made "the whole world a blazing volcano." There are numerous horrifying descriptions of the wounded. A lieutenant colonel with Jeb Stuart recalls members of his unit vomiting at the sight of battlefield surgery; a young woman named Caroline Seabury compares the impromptu military hospitals to "Pandemonium"; and the long excerpt from Walt Whitman's Specimen Days includes an account of "a heap of amputated feet, legs, arms, hands, &c." In a diary entry from 1862, a Confederate girl eloquently compares the Confederacy to "a rope of sand" that "will not last many years." Included also are harrowing tales of escape by prisoners of war (one segment by Confederate soldier Berry Benson is especially graphic), and there are a variety of comments on slavery: "[T]his infernal slavery system has corrupted our blood," writes George Templeton Strong in his diary. A former slave comments about blacks born after the war: "These chillun don't know what hard times is." Kadzis also includes little-known war stories—like the violent anti-draft riots in New York City in 1863 (some Irish immigrants, angry about conscription, lynched blacks)—and he has theparticipantsthemselves dispel other myths. Grant, for example, characterizes as "the purest romance" the popular story that Lee offered his sword in surrender. The nonfiction selections are so powerful that they render superfluous the fictional ones. A chorus of voices—some sweet, some crude—all combining to cry aloud the message that we should study war no more. (16 b&w photos)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781560252597
Publisher:
Da Capo Books
Publication date:
04/28/2000
Series:
Adrenaline Series
Pages:
360
Product dimensions:
6.21(w) x 9.02(h) x 1.01(d)

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