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Reluctant Rebels: The Confederates Who Joined the Army after 1861
     

Reluctant Rebels: The Confederates Who Joined the Army after 1861

by Kenneth W. Noe
 

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After the feverish mobilization of secession had faded, why did Southern men join the Confederate army? Kenneth Noe examines the motives and subsequent performance of "later enlisters." He offers a nuanced view of men who have often been cast as less patriotic and less committed to the cause, rekindling the debate over who these later enlistees were, why they joined,

Overview

After the feverish mobilization of secession had faded, why did Southern men join the Confederate army? Kenneth Noe examines the motives and subsequent performance of "later enlisters." He offers a nuanced view of men who have often been cast as less patriotic and less committed to the cause, rekindling the debate over who these later enlistees were, why they joined, and why they stayed and fought.

Noe refutes the claim that later enlisters were more likely to desert or perform poorly in battle and reassesses the argument that they were less ideologically savvy than their counterparts who enlisted early in the conflict. He argues that kinship and neighborhood, not conscription, compelled these men to fight: they were determined to protect their families and property and were fueled by resentment over emancipation and pillaging and destruction by Union forces. But their age often combined with their duties to wear them down more quickly than younger men, making them less effective soldiers for a Confederate nation that desperately needed every able-bodied man it could muster.

Reluctant Rebels places the stories of individual soldiers in the larger context of the Confederate war effort and follows them from the initial optimism of enlistment through the weariness of battle and defeat.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
[Noe's] book is one to be studied and admired.—Journal of Southern History

A valuable monograph, which will stand with books by James McPherson and Bell Wiley among standards on Confederate soldiers. . . . Noe presents insights not only into these late comers, but also into those who came early and remained throughout the war. . . . The publications of books like this one demonstrates the vitality of such study and the potential for public learning. . . . We need more books like this one to document facts.—Review of Politics

Reluctant Rebels adds nuance and range in its answer to the well-worn question of why soldiers fought. It reminds readers of the varied motivations and experiences of Johnny Reb.—Arkansas Historical Quarterly

This fine study . . . answers questions about motivation and enlistment that have hovered over the field for generations. . . . The strengths of Noe's book lie in his clear prose, deep research, and persuasive analysis.—Virginia Magazine of History and Biography

Noe provides his insights in a fair-minded manner. . . . We need more books like this one to document facts.—The Review of Politics

While broad historical generalizations remain faceless, Noe personalizes the accounts….[His] sampling serves to create a situation in which the reader can more easily empathize with the motivations and actions of the men in question….The structure of his study and the conscientious approach to his research offer an excellent model for undergraduate and graduate students as well as for independent researchers.—Virginia Libraries

Noe makes an important contribution to our understanding of Civil War soldiers in his well-written and entertaining work.—The Alabama Review

Reluctant Rebels is a well-researched, highly readable book . . . . Anyone interested in Civil War history or the life of the Confederate soldier should definitely take a look at this offering.—The Historian

Noe's command of the secondary literature is impeccable and his archival research nothing less than heroic. . . . A highly readable, judiciously argued book that fills a crucial gap in the literature on Civil War soldiers. It will be of interest to Civil War scholars and buffs alike.—Journal of East Tennessee History

Readers will find this an interesting [study] on a previously unaddressed element of Civil War history.—The Post and Courier

Noe admirably stays impartial and transparent in his research throughout. He has produced a significant study worthy of debate in the scholarship on Civil War motivations." —The Journal of American History

A must read. . . . Ground breaking . . . the best book out this year.—Authentic Campaigner

Those attracted to Civil War history and those interested in the interrelationships between culture and war in varied historical contexts should find this work of interest.—The Courier

A valuable monograph, which will stand with books by James McPherson and Bell Wiley among standard studies on Confederate soldiers….We need more books like this one to document facts.—The Review of Politics

With insight and skill, Noe hands down some provocative judgments.—Civil War Book Review

Absorbing and thought-provoking. . . . Such impressive scholarly analysis and writing, coupled with quality design and materials, make this a captivating volume that all students of the Civil War in general and the Confederacy in particular will want to read.—Civil War News

Ken Noe has crafted a thought-provoking, well-researched, poignant window into a neglected topic….Noe's book is important and begs to be read….Civil War historians and educated lay readers will grapple with this book and its underlying research for years to come." —Southern Historian

Noe has provided the Civil War enthusiast with a fascinating presentation of excellent research. His study fills a gap in our understanding of all the men who fought for the Confederacy.—New York Journal of Books

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807895634
Publisher:
The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date:
05/14/2010
Series:
Civil War America
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
336
File size:
4 MB

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
This valuable study revises our opinion of those Confederate recruits who did not rush to the colors immediately but fought with determination when they ultimately joined the ranks. Noe employs their letters to give these men very human faces in a nuanced treatment of motivation and endurance. His work rewards not only readers fascinated by the Civil War, but also those who examine the interrelationships between culture and war in varied historical contexts.—John A. Lynn II, author of Battle: A History of Combat and Culture

Meet the Author

Kenneth W. Noe is Draughon Professor of History at Auburn University. He is author or editor of five books, including Perryville: This Grand Havoc of Battle.

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