Civil War America: Voices from the Home Front

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"Out of the three million who fought, six hundred thousand died. The U.S. Civil War affected not only the soldiers who fought, but everyone. It was a war that forever altered the lives of countless men, women, and children. Diaries, letters, journal entries, and newspaper articles recount the stories, feelings, and actions of people who experienced the war firsthand. In addition, this illuminating collection: brings together in one source information and experiences from the North and South, black and white, young and old, male and female; includes the writings of George Templeton Strong, Louisa May Alcott, Walt Whitman, and Ambrose Bierce; gives firsthand accounts of key events like the draft riots in New York City and the Siege of Vicksburg; and conveys the complexity of relationships between soldiers and civilians, Northerners and Southern African Americans, Union men and Southern women." Civil War America: Voices from the Home Front recounts the personal experiences of slaves, slave owners, refugees, dissenters, journalists, veterans, widows, and orphans alike. Civil War buffs, students, scholars, and general readers will read stories of the war never told before.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The Civil War's bloody engagements are commemorated through preserved battlefields, but no such monuments remind Americans of what those on the home front endured during the four long years of war. Here, Marten (history, Marquette Univ.), author of The Children's Civil War-the first scholarly treatment of the war's youngest participants and observers-engagingly retells the wartime stories of civilians dealing with the traumatic changes set in motion by the conflict. Made up of 27 topically arranged essays divided into sections on the North and the South, children, African Americans, and the aftermath of the war, this useful reference work draws from an extensive selection of both primary sources (e.g., diaries, letters, memoirs, and magazine articles) and secondary sources and includes bibliographic entries and a bibliographic essay. Offering a rare glimpse of the impact of the war on children, it provides a useful overview but less about specific locations than community studies such as J. Matthew Gallman's The North Fights the Civil War: The Home Front. Recommended for larger public and academic libraries.-Theresa McDevitt, Indiana Univ. of Pennsylvania Lib. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Adult/High School-Marten offers a view of the war through the eyes of diverse noncombatants. Four parts of this five-part work each deal with Southerners, Northerners, children, and African Americans. Using both primary and secondary sources, the author shows how daily life and contemporary attitudes differed dramatically depending on one's gender, locale, or race. Part five, "Aftermaths," includes descriptions of the postwar lives of veterans, orphans, and ex-slaves, and concludes with a chapter on the Civil War stories by Ambrose Bierce. Readers will find Marten's overarching theme of change-both immediate and long-range-revelatory and instructional. Some transformations, such as the postwar status of African Americans, are obvious, but the author also makes less-evident connections, e.g., that the creation of Union veterans' homes was an outgrowth of society's awakening sense of collective responsibility, and that the united effort Northerners expended to win the war led subsequent generations to accept "at least a modicum of government-controlled reform." Marten also traces a shift in the written word, noting that children's literature evolved from lecturing sentiment to action and adventure; on the journalism front, reporters became war correspondents, and more periodicals disregarded sensationalism in favor of news. Inexplicably, most of the photographs and reproductions are undated; perhaps the dates are unknown. However, this is a minor quibble about a useful book that combines competent research with the distinct advantage of having a variety of home-front experiences and attitudes presented in a single volume.-Dori DeSpain, Fairfax County Public Library, VA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
"Using both primary and secondary sources, the author shows how daily life and contemporary attitudes differed dramatically depending on one's gender, locale, or race . . . Readers will find Marten's overarching theme of change—both immediate and long-range—revelatory and instructional . . . A useful book that combines competent research with the distinct advantage of having a variety of homefront experiences and attitudes presented in a single volume."


School Library Journal

"The first scholarly treatment of the war's youngest participant's and observers—engagingly retells the wartime stories of civilians dealing with the traumatic changes set in motion by the conflict. Offering a rare glimpse of the impact of the war on children, it provides a useful overview . . . Recommended for larger public and academic libraries."


Library Journal

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780823227945
  • Publisher: Fordham University Press
  • Publication date: 12/15/2007
  • Series: North's Civil War Series
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 360
  • Sales rank: 1,197,310
  • Product dimensions: 9.90 (w) x 7.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

JAMES C. MARTEN is Professor and Chair of the History Department at Marquette University. Among his books are The Children's Civil War, Children and War: A Historical Anthology, and Children in Colonial America.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: "A People's War"
Pt. I Southern Civilians under Siege
1 The Last Fire-Eater: Edmund Ruffin 3
2 Times to Try a Woman's Soul 17
3 A Miserable, Frightened Life: Southern Refugees 27
4 "A Species of Passionate Insanity": Women of Vicksburg 41
5 Culture Clash: Invaders and Rebels in the Occupied South 53
6 A Lukewarm People: Home Front Dissenters in the Confederacy 65
7 "I Ain't Ashamed of Nuthin": Bill Arp Explains the Confederate Home Front 75
Pt. II Northern Society at War
8 George Templeton Strong and the Serious Job of Journalizing 87
9 Reporting the War: Civil War Journalism in the North 99
10 Literary Nurses: Louisa May Alcott and Walt Whitman 113
11 Thinking Big: Love and Advice from Civil War Fathers 125
12 A Record of Munificence: Supporting the Troops 135
13 "The Bloody Week": The New York City Draft Riots 147
Pt. III The Children's Civil War
14 Rabid Partisans among Their Playmates 161
15 What a Difference a War Makes: A Northern Boy and a Southern Girl 171
16 Playing Soldier: Phip Flaxen and the Watermelon War 181
17 Oliver Optic's Civil War: Northern Children and the Literary War for the Union 193
Pt. IV African Americans and the War
18 Havens and Hellholes: Challenges and Opportunities in the Contraband Camps 209
19 Testing the Boundaries: Slave Lives in the Confederacy 223
20 Free to Learn: Educating Freedpeople 235
Pt. V Aftermaths
21 "That Such a Thing Could Ever Happen": The Death of a President 253
22 Out at the Soldiers' Home: Union Veterans 267
23 Children of the Battlefield: Soldiers' Orphans 279
24 Up from Slavery: African Americans after the War 291
25 "True Soldiers of the Southern Cross": Confederate Women and the Lost Cause 303
26 The Devil's Civil War: The Stories of Ambrose Bierce 317
Bibliographical Essay 329
Index 335
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