The Won Cause: Black and White Comradeship in the Grand Army of the Republic by Barbara A. Gannon | Paperback | Barnes & Noble
The Won Cause: Black and White Comradeship in the Grand Army of the Republic

The Won Cause: Black and White Comradeship in the Grand Army of the Republic

by Barbara A. Gannon
     
 

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In the years after the Civil War, black and white Union soldiers who survived the horrific struggle joined the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR)—the Union army's largest veterans' organization. In this thoroughly researched and groundbreaking study, Barbara Gannon chronicles black and white veterans' efforts to create and sustain the nation's first interracial

Overview

In the years after the Civil War, black and white Union soldiers who survived the horrific struggle joined the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR)—the Union army's largest veterans' organization. In this thoroughly researched and groundbreaking study, Barbara Gannon chronicles black and white veterans' efforts to create and sustain the nation's first interracial organization.

According to the conventional view, the freedoms and interests of African American veterans were not defended by white Union veterans after the war, despite the shared tradition of sacrifice among both black and white soldiers. In The Won Cause, however, Gannon challenges this scholarship, arguing that although black veterans still suffered under the contemporary racial mores, the GAR honored its black members in many instances and ascribed them a greater equality than previous studies have shown. Using evidence of integrated posts and veterans' thoughts on their comradeship and the cause, Gannon reveals that white veterans embraced black veterans because their membership in the GAR demonstrated that their wartime suffering created a transcendent bond—comradeship—that overcame even the most pernicious social barrier—race-based separation. By upholding a more inclusive memory of a war fought for liberty as well as union, the GAR's "Won Cause" challenged the Lost Cause version of Civil War memory.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Uncover[s] the extent of African American participation and integration in the GAR. . . . The Won Cause brings an important new perspective.—The Annals of Iowa

[Gannon's] research method is an important step in the efforts to rewrite the history of African Americans, their contributions to the Civil War and efforts to gain equality.—Journal of the North Carolina Association of Historians

The Won Cause is an important an impressive book.—Army History

Will contribute to ongoing and vigorous debates on how freedom came during and after the American Civil War.—H-CivWar

Gannon presents an original and absorbing account . . .countering current scholarship. . . . A compelling corrective to common misconceptions. . . . Pertinent and persuasive; highly recommended for Civil War specialists.—Library Journal

Library Journal
Gannon (military history, Univ. of Central Florida) presents an original and absorbing account of the ways black and white Union veterans of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) created communities of comradeship based on their shared wartime sacrifices for liberty and Union. She shows that GAR veterans persisted in deeming secession treason, slavery a curse, and emancipation the redemption that released the great republic to realize its God-anointed promise to become a world power. Countering current scholarship, Gannon insists that, although Southerners' Lost Cause mythology won the struggles in public memory, Union veterans did not accept the terms of sectional reconciliation that forgot blacks' roles in saving the Union and that celebrated white courage regardless of sides. A compelling corrective to common misconceptions that still posit an abstraction such as states' rights as the cause of secession rather than the concrete fact of slavery. Pertinent and persuasive; highly recommended for Civil War specialists.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781469621999
Publisher:
The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date:
12/01/2014
Series:
Civil War America Series
Edition description:
Reissue
Pages:
296
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.90(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
This important, in-depth study goes far toward explaining the postwar experiences of Civil War veterans and particularly the racially charged political atmosphere that African American veterans faced at the local, state, and national levels.--Joseph P. Reidy, co-editor of Freedom's Soldiers: The Black Military Experience in the Civil War

Meet the Author

Barbara A. Gannon is assistant professor of military history at the University of Central Florida.

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