Sing Not War: The Lives of Union and Confederate Veterans in Gilded Age America

Sing Not War: The Lives of Union and Confederate Veterans in Gilded Age America

by James Marten
     
 

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After the Civil War, white Confederate and Union army veterans reentered--or struggled to reenter--the lives and communities they had left behind. In Sing Not War, James Marten explores how the nineteenth century's "Greatest Generation" attempted to blend back into society and how their experiences were treated by nonveterans.

Many soldiers, Marten reveals,

Overview

After the Civil War, white Confederate and Union army veterans reentered--or struggled to reenter--the lives and communities they had left behind. In Sing Not War, James Marten explores how the nineteenth century's "Greatest Generation" attempted to blend back into society and how their experiences were treated by nonveterans.

Many soldiers, Marten reveals, had a much harder time reintegrating into their communities and returning to their civilian lives than has been previously understood. Although Civil War veterans were generally well taken care of during the Gilded Age, Marten argues that veterans lost control of their legacies, becoming best remembered as others wanted to remember them--for their service in the war and their postwar political activities. Marten finds that while southern veterans were venerated for their service to the Confederacy, Union veterans often encountered resentment and even outright hostility as they aged and made greater demands on the public purse. Drawing on letters, diaries, journals, memoirs, newspapers, and other sources, Sing Not War illustrates that during the Gilded Age "veteran" conjured up several conflicting images and invoked contradicting reactions. Deeply researched and vividly narrated, Marten's book counters the romanticized vision of the lives of Civil War veterans, bringing forth new information about how white veterans were treated and how they lived out their lives.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
A rich narrative. . . . Marten's well-researched study draws together a deep analysis of competing themes.--West Virginia History

Sing Not War is a first-rate scholarly model of historical research and elegant writing that is sure to reshape studies of veteran culture, social welfare, Civil War memory, and the Gilded Age.--Journal of the Civil War Era

Marten's book is powerful in its presentation and is a must read for those historians who want to proceed further into the postwar era of the conflict.--The Journal of the North Carolina Association of Historians

This volume is profoundly moving.--The Historian

A splendid synthesis in the emerging field of postwar studies.--Journal of Social History

A worthy addition to the growing body of scholarship on Civil War veterans. For readers new to the topic, it represents a well-written introduction to the world of the men that served in and survived the Civil War. For scholars knowledgeable on this topic, Marten's study pulls together many familiar threads and adds some new ones, thoughtfully weaving both.--Civil War Book Review

[Marten's] scholarship is wide ranging, and his prose is excellent . . . . For anyone interested in the postwar lives of Civil War soldiers, Sing Not War is highly recommended.--The Annals of Iowa

Engaging, well written, and exhaustive. . . . A timely and relevant account of the consequences of war on soldiers and civilians alike.--Southwestern Historical Quarterly

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781469622026
Publisher:
The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date:
12/01/2014
Series:
Civil War America Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
843,933
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
Civil War soldiers returned home to a world that was transformed by their efforts. Many bore the physical marks of their service; many more carried hidden emotional scars. In this deeply researched and wonderfully written volume, James Marten presents the veterans' story in all its complexity. Marten mines novels, memoirs, newspapers, institutional records, and the private writings of scores of anonymous veterans to uncover how they navigated their postwar lives. The result is not only a powerful history of Civil War veterans, but also an important analysis of the forces that shaped Gilded Age America.—J. Matthew Gallman, author of Northerners at War: Reflections on the Civil War Home Front

Meet the Author

James Marten is professor of history at Marquette University.

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