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Stephen BudianskyThe American Civil War was the first "war of peoples," and as Drew Gilpin Faust vividly demonstrates, the unprecedented carnage of this first modern war overwhelmed society's traditional ways of dealing with death. The customs, religion, rhetoric, logistics—even statistical methods—of mid-19th century America were unequal to slaughter on such a scale. How American society attempted to come to terms with death that broke all the rules about dying, and how the nation ultimately did—and did not—face up to this new reality of war are Faust's haunting and powerful themes. If nothing else, this finely written book is a powerful corrective to all the romantic claptrap that still envelops a war that took as many American lives, 620,000, as all other wars from the Revolution to Korea combined.
—The Washington Post