Living Hell: The Dark Side of the Civil War [NOOK Book]

Overview

Many Americans, argues Michael C. C. Adams, tend to think of the Civil War as more glorious, less awful, than the reality. Millions of tourists flock to battlefields each year as vacation destinations, their perceptions of the war often shaped by reenactors who work hard for verisimilitude but who cannot ultimately simulate mutilation, madness, chronic disease, advanced physical decay. In Living Hell, Adams tries a different tack, clustering the voices of myriad actual participants on the firing line or in the ...

See more details below
Living Hell: The Dark Side of the Civil War

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$16.49
BN.com price
(Save 44%)$29.95 List Price

Overview

Many Americans, argues Michael C. C. Adams, tend to think of the Civil War as more glorious, less awful, than the reality. Millions of tourists flock to battlefields each year as vacation destinations, their perceptions of the war often shaped by reenactors who work hard for verisimilitude but who cannot ultimately simulate mutilation, madness, chronic disease, advanced physical decay. In Living Hell, Adams tries a different tack, clustering the voices of myriad actual participants on the firing line or in the hospital ward to create a virtual historical reenactment.

Perhaps because the United States has not seen conventional war on its own soil since 1865, the collective memory of its horror has faded, so that we have sanitized and romanticized even the experience of the Civil War. Neither film nor reenactment can fully capture the hard truth of the four-year conflict. Living Hell presents a stark portrait of the human costs of the Civil War and gives readers a more accurate appreciation of its profound and lasting consequences.

Adams examines the sharp contrast between the expectations of recruits versus the realities of communal living, the enormous problems of dirt and exposure, poor diet, malnutrition, and disease. He describes the slaughter produced by close-order combat, the difficulties of cleaning up the battlefields—where tens of thousands of dead and wounded often lay in an area of only a few square miles—and the resulting psychological damage survivors experienced.

Drawing extensively on letters and memoirs of individual soldiers, Adams assembles vivid accounts of the distress Confederate and Union soldiers faced daily: sickness, exhaustion, hunger, devastating injuries, and makeshift hospitals where saws were often the medical instrument of choice.

Inverting Robert E. Lee’s famous line about war, Adams suggests that too many Americans become fond of war out of ignorance of its terrors. Providing a powerful counterpoint to Civil War glorification, Living Hell echoes William Tecumseh Sherman’s comment that war is cruelty and cannot be refined.

Praise for Our Masters the Rebels: A Speculation on Union Military Failure in the East, 1861–1865

"This excellent and provocative work concludes with a chapter suggesting how the image of Southern military superiority endured in spite of defeat."— Civil War History

"Adams's imaginative connections between culture and combat provide a forceful reminder that Civil War military history belongs not in an encapsulated realm, with its own categories and arcane language, but at the center of the study of the intellectual, social, and psychological currents that prevailed in the mid-nineteenth century."— Journal of American History

Praise for The Best War Ever: America and World War II

"Adams has a real gift for efficiently explaining complex historical problems."— Reviews in American History

"Not only is this mythologizing bad history, says Adams, it is dangerous as well. Surrounding the war with an aura of nostalgia both fosters the delusion that war can cure our social ills and makes us strong again, and weakens confidence in our ability to act effectively in our own time."— Journal of Military History

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
★ 08/01/2014
Adams (Echoes of War) eschews the celebratory patinas of Civil War memorials to reveal the extremely dark sides of the war. Using soldiers' accounts, the author describes the misery, gore, and futility—"the real war"—that poet Walt Whitman omitted in his works. Adams describes it all: the disease and desperation that led soldiers to have mental and physical breakdowns, the life-altering injuries and post-traumatic stress disorders suffered by those on the front lines, the ravages and rapes of civilians by invading and retreating armies, and much more. Insisting that we have glorified the war too much and, thus, betrayed history, Adams aims to right the course with his honesty. He also ponders the questions of how and why we have come to adore the Civil War and have, as a result, minimized its terrible truths. VERDICT This essential book gives soldiers their due and presents the realities of war in a way few have dared. Ideal for anyone interested in military history.—Randall M. Miller, St. Joseph's Univ., Philadelphia
Register of the Kentucky Historical Society
Most valuable to students and general readers who have not given World War II serious study but who are interested in achieving a better understanding of America's experience in what Dwight D. Eisenhower called 'the Great Crusade.'
Shelf Awareness

Provides a vital gut-wrenching counterpoint to the Civil War's glamorization in America's collective memory, a perspective as important to understanding the war as any political history or general's biography. Living Hell will appeal to lovers of military history while being accessible enough for general readers. Those with the fortitude to endure its darkest moments will find it fascinating.

Civil War Monitor - Ian Isherwood

In Adams’ hands, the Civil War’s legacy is unmitigated personal horror, societal suffering, and political factionalism... Living Hell engagingly opens up the 'dark side' of the Civil War to comparative scrutiny with other modern wars.

History Book Club - William C. Davis

This powerful counterpoint to Civil War glorification paints a stark portrait of the true brutality of the conflict... Living Hell is a moving, often graphic, exploration of what the war did to men’s bodies and minds.

Midwest Book Review

Any who would truly understand the daily trials of the Civil War must have this book!

New York Review of Books - James McPherson

This book has made an important contribution to Civil War studies by reminding us graphically of the war’s dark side.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781421412221
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 3/19/2014
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 182,463
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Michael C. C. Adams, Regents Professor of History Emeritus, Northern Kentucky University, is author of The Best War Ever: America and World War II, published by Johns Hopkins, and Our Masters the Rebels: A Speculation on Union Military Failure in the East, 1861–1865, winner of the Jefferson Davis Prize for the best Civil War book, awarded by the Museum of the Confederacy.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 3 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(1)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 25, 2014

    extremely high historical value. and magnetizing to read.

    the real civil war. the feeling of it in daily American life in 1860's. includes the negatives: effects on civilian life, the rotting gore of dead & dying post battles. the medical care post battles. the desolation of so many farms. the struggling families of the 1860's receiving soldier death notices.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2014

    To below

    Dats where u will BURN

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2014

    Recommended

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. The author certainly painted a picture that "war is hell" and how we shouldn't necessarily celebrate the carnage and destruction it brings. I do wish there were photos included within the book but the author did explain why they were not.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)