Black and white working-class women managed farms that had been left without a male head of household, worked in munitions factories, made uniforms, and located and cared for injured or dead soldiers. As they became more active in their new roles, they became visible as political actors, writing letters, signing petitions, moving (or refusing to move) from their homes, and confronting civilian and military officials.
At the heart of the book are stories of women who fought the draft in New York and Pennsylvania, protested segregated streetcars in San Francisco and Philadelphia, and demanded a living wage in the needle trades and safer conditions at the Federal arsenals where they labored. Giesberg challenges readers to think about women and children who were caught up in the military conflict but nonetheless refused to become its collateral damage. She offers a dramatic reinterpretation of how America's Civil War reshaped the lived experience of race and gender and brought swift and lasting changes to working-class family life.
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In Giesberg's action-packed Civil War study, women risk body and soul to make a living and to protest segregation, conscription, and low wages. These are not teary-eyed maidens waiting out the war with hankies gripped to their throats; they embody home front struggles that paralleled battlefields in transforming U.S. society.Victoria Bynum, author of The Free State of Jones: Mississippi's Longest Civil War
A highly original analysis of how the war affected working-class women and how those women affected the war effort in heretofore underrecognized ways, Army at Home is also a very valuable case study in how to apply larger theoretical insights to the Civil War era.J. Matthew Gallman, author of America's Joan of Arc: The Life of Anna Elizabeth Dickinson