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Carol K. Bleser and Lesley J. Gordon assemble an impressive array of leading scholars to explore the marriages of six Confederate and six Union commanders. Contributors reveal that, for many of these men, the matrimonial bond was the most important relationship in their lives, one that shaped (and was shaped by) their military experience. In some cases, the commanders' spouses proved relentless and skillful promoters of their husbands' careers. Jessie Fremont drew on all of her connections as the daughter of former Senator Thomas Hart Benton to aid her modestly talented husband John. Others bolstered their military spouses in less direct ways. For example, Ulysses S. Grant's relationship with Julia (a Southerner and former slave owner herself) kept him anchored in stormy times. Here, too, are tense and tempestuous pairings, such William Tecumseh Sherman and his wife Ellen--his foster sister before becoming his wife--and Jefferson Davis's fascinatingly complex bond with Varina, further complicated by the hostile rumors about the two in Richmond society. Throughout, these historians paint remarkably intimate portraits of their subjects, ranging from hints of sexual passion, to the wives' fierce protectiveness of their husbands' reputations, to the surprisingly frequent visits of spouses to the front lines and battlefields. Readers will see these famed men in a way that they perhaps never considered: not merely as famous leaders, but as lovers, husbands and fathers.
Illuminating a frequently neglected but extremely significant side of military history, Intimate Strategies is a must-read for anyone seeking fresh perspective on some of the war's best known commanders and a landmark contribution to Civil War history.
"From homefront to battlefront, from the first couple of the Confederacy to the marriages of Grant and Sherman, Intimate Strategies takes us behind the frontlines and into commanders' tents, where other battles were fought--conflicts within conflicts, ebbing and flowing during the course of the Civil War."--Catherine Clinton, author of Harriet Tubman: The Road to Freedom
"Civil War scholarship too often has separated the home front and the battlefield, examining each in isolation and obscuring the myriad connections between the two. This collection of essays joins a growing body of literature that refreshingly counters that trend, exploring the lives of a dozen prominent couples and underscoring the fact that, even amid momentous military and political events, relationships with spouses and families often held center stage. Readers interested in Civil War military history, the importance of gender as an analytical tool, and the ways in which personal relationships influenced postwar writings about the conflict will read this book with profit--as will anyone drawn to the often compelling stories of Robert and Mary Lee, Ulysses and Julia Grant, Fannie and Joshua Chamberlain, and the other famous couples."--Gary W. Gallagher, author of The Confederate War and Lee and His Army in Confederate History
"Intimate Strategies delivers fresh, readable material to both Civil War specialists and general readers. Original in conception and successful in execution, these twelve essays on the marriages of Union and Confederate commanders and their wives probe a neglected interaction between private affairs and public matters. Through their fascinating, sometimes surprising profiles of these marriages of well-known commanders including those of Lee, Grant, Jackson, and Sherman, the authors break down the artificial divide between battlefield and marriage bed. Intimate Strategies doesnt just personalize the larger themes of military and gender history; it also displays the significance of marriage as an historical topic."--Jean Baker, author of Mary Todd Lincoln: A Biography
"The dozen essays in these pages collectively give us both a view of a too-much neglected side of Civil War America and offer insights into the lives of some of the period's prominent men and of the fascinating women who shared life with them. The editors and their colleagues have put together a fine work that will do much to aid our understanding of the era and its people."--Richard M. McMurry, author of Atlanta 1864: Last Chance for the Confederacy
"This edited collection will surely silence anyone foolish enough to think that the curtain should be brought down on Civil War historiography. Intimate Strategies moves into relatively uncharted territory and undertakes the systematic exploration of private lives and military performance. The contributing authors demonstrate that marriage, long regarded by some as a private blood sport, also affected the panoramic public bloodletting of the Blue and the Gray."--Margaret Ripley Wolfe, author of Daughters of Canaan: A Saga of Southern Women
|1||The Marriage of Varina Howell and Jefferson Davis: A Portrait of the President and the First Lady of the Confederacy||3|
|2||The Lee Marriage||32|
|3||"A Sweet Solace to My Lonely Heart": "Stonewall" and Mary Anna Jackson and the Civil War||49|
|4||"Cupid Does Not Readily Give Way to Mars": The Marriage of LaSalle Corbell and George E. Pickett||69|
|5||"All Say They Are under Petticoat Government": Lizinka Campbell Brown and Richard S. Ewell||87|
|6||The Marriage of Amelia Gayle and Josiah Gorgas||104|
|7||A Marriage Tested by War: Ulysses and Julia Grant||123|
|8||General and Mrs. William T. Sherman, a Contentious Union||138|
|9||The Reconstruction of "Home": The Civil War and the Marriage of Lawrence and Fannie Chamberlain||157|
|10||The Civil War Partnership of Elizabeth and George A. Custer||178|
|11||Permutations of a Marriage: John Charles and Jessie Benton Fremont's Civil War Alliance||199|
|12||"A Good Wife, the Best Friend in the World": The Marriage of Elizabeth Blair and S. Phillips Lee||225|
Posted November 21, 2001
This collection of twelve essays explores the personal lives of prominent Civil War military commanders and their wives. The writers paint vivid pictures of how family life and the war were interwoven. The most striking thing to me is the great variation between the relationships of the various commanders and their wives, all within the Victorian societal structure. I think this book makes great reading for everyone, regardless of a person's interest in history.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 10, 2001
Lesley Gordon and Carol K. Bleser writes an insightfull perspective into military leaders and their wives, by bring these two issues together, they were able not only to tell you about the Military Commanders but add to the already exisiting sources of information and knowledge. I would recomended this book to anyone with an interest in the American Civil War...Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.