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Fought entirely on our own soil, the American Civil War was numbingly brutal, killing nearly thirty times as many soldiers as any previous U.S. war. Its reality seemed far different than the conflicts portrayed in traditional European history painting; a bloody disparity brought out even more forcefully in the battlefield photographs of Brady and Gardner. American painters responded to the conflicting impulses of patriotism, anxiety, and repulsion aroused by these breaking events in ways that sometimes they themselves did not understand. Eleanor Jones Harvey's stunning narrative of this breakthrough period in both our nation's history and our nation's art possesses significance beyond any narrow genre.