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The Children's Civil War
     

The Children's Civil War

by James Marten
 

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Children—white and black, northern and southern—endured a vast and varied range of experiences during the Civil War. Children celebrated victories and mourned defeats, tightened their belts and widened their responsibilities, took part in patriotic displays and suffered shortages and hardships, fled their homes to escape enemy invaders and snatched

Overview

Children—white and black, northern and southern—endured a vast and varied range of experiences during the Civil War. Children celebrated victories and mourned defeats, tightened their belts and widened their responsibilities, took part in patriotic displays and suffered shortages and hardships, fled their homes to escape enemy invaders and snatched opportunities to run toward the promise of freedom. Offering a fascinating look at how children were affected by our nation's greatest crisis, James Marten examines their toys and games, their literature and schoolbooks, the letters they exchanged with absent fathers and brothers, and the hardships they endured. He also explores children's politicization, their contributions to their homelands' war efforts, and the lessons they took away from the war. Drawing on the childhoods of such diverse Americans as Jane Addams, Booker T. Washington, and Theodore Roosevelt, and on sources that range from diaries and memoirs to children's "amateur newspapers," Marten examines the myriad ways in which the Civil War shaped the lives of a generation of American children."An original-minded, skillfully and suggestively presented history, haunting in its detailed unfolding of a war that put so many already vulnerable youngsters in danger, but elicited from some of them, as well, impressively sensitive, responsive thoughts, gestures, and deeds in what became, as this extraordinary book's title insists, their civil war.—Journal of American History"James Marten's thoroughly researched and engagingly written study . . . stands as one of the most exciting studies to emerge in the last dozen years. . . . Marten has taken a topic ignored by both Civil War historians and historians of childhood and crafted an engaging, masterful, nuanced, and readable study that will not quickly leave the reader's mind or heart.—American Studies"The first comprehensive account of Civil War children. . . . Thoroughly researched and nicely illustrated, The Children's Civil War will be a touchstone for historians and generalists who seek to gain a fuller understanding of life on the home front between 1861 and 1865.—Civil War HistoryThe Children's Civil War is a poignant and fascinating look at childhood during our nation's greatest crisis. Using sources that include diaries, memoirs, and letters, James Marten examines the wartime experiences of young people—boys and girls, black and white, northern and southern—and traces the ways in which the Civil War shaped the lives of a generation of American children. —>

Editorial Reviews

Journal of Southern History
This study is long overdue, and Marten's methodical examination of a wide variety of primary and secondary sources on this and more modern wars makes The Children's Civil War a valuable addition to the historiography of the period.
American Historical Review
An important book, well researched and written, which directs our attention to some previously overlooked casualties and consequences of the Civil War.
Civil War History
Thoroughly researched and nicely illustrated, The Children's Civil War will be a touchstone for historians and generalists who seek to gain a fuller understanding of life on the home front between 1861 and 1865.
American Studies
Marten has taken a topic ignored by both Civil War historians and historians of childhood and crafted an engaging, masterful, nuanced, and readable study that will not quickly leave the reader's mind or heart.
KLIATT
Given the large number of American children who were affected in one way or another by the Civil War, it seems strange that no serious work on the subject has appeared, until now. From John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry until the guns fell silent at Appomatox, children hover around the fringes of every aspect of the Civil War like so many wraiths, unseen but all-seeing. Mostly disregarded or overlooked by adults at the time, and virtually ignored by historians ever since, untold numbers of youngsters were vitally affected by the immense events surrounding them, and most of them ended up as the great war's silent victims. And how they were affected! Nearly every soldier, Yankee or Confederate, had dependent children of his own, or at least younger siblings, cousins, nephews and nieces. In every war zone, boys and girls slipped into camp to gape at the warriors and their weapons, and lined the roadsides to wave at the marching columns and offer them water or wildflowers. Young people gave directions to scouts, gaped at prisoners, nursed the wounded, and besieged the convalescents for tales of valor. Many a young entrepreneur made a good thing of selling gingerbread or buttermilk to the soldiers, or risked parental discipline to slip onto a smoking battlefield and forage for souvenirs. Adventuresome kids were underfoot at numerous battles and skirmishes, and at least one daring boy rode into combat clinging to the back of a friendly bugler. All the more reason, then, for the Civil War's youngest participants to receive some sort of attention in print. Fortunately, Professor James Marten, a director of the Children in Urban America Project, saw the need and acted upon it. Researching hissubject in the traditional way, by means of numerous letters, diaries, and personal accounts, he has put together a study that is fascinating to read as well as historically useful. Full of anecdotes and stories, yet academically useful too, it is a deft and masterful handling of the subject. This is one of the rare books that open a new dimension to a familiar topic. KLIATT Codes: SA—Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2000 (orig. 1998), University of North Carolina Press, 365p, illus, notes, bibliog, index, 24cm, 97-43647, $17.95. Ages 16 to adult. Reviewer: Raymond L. Puffer; Ph.D., Historian, Edwards Air Force Base, CA January 2001 (Vol. 35 No. 1)
From the Publisher
[A] valuable addition to the historiography of the period.

Journal of Southern History

[The book] directs our attention to some previously overlooked casualties and consequences of the Civil War.

American Historical Review

Through his absorbing, first-rate social history, Marten sheds much-needed light on a previously neglected aspect of Civil War history.

Publishers Weekly

Thoroughly researched and nicely illustrated, The Children's Civil War will be a touchstone for historians and generalists.

Civil War History

[A]n engaging, masterful, nuanced, and readable study that will not quickly leave the reader's mind or heart.

American Studies

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807898604
Publisher:
The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date:
11/15/2000
Series:
Civil War America
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
368
File size:
5 MB

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
Through his absorbing, first-rate social history, Marten sheds much-needed light on a previously neglected aspect of Civil War history. In the process, he reveals the ways in which the war shaped an entire generation of American youth, for good and for ill.—Publishers Weekly

An important book, well researched and written, which directs our attention to some previously overlooked casualties and consequences of the Civil War.—American Historical Review

Meet the Author

James Marten is professor of history at Marquette University in Milwaukee. He is director of the Children in Urban America Project: A Digital Archive.

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