Civil War Wives: The Lives and Times of Angelina Grimke Weld, Varina Howell Davis, and Julia Dent Grant

Civil War Wives: The Lives and Times of Angelina Grimke Weld, Varina Howell Davis, and Julia Dent Grant

by Carol Berkin
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Overview

Civil War Wives: The Lives and Times of Angelina Grimke Weld, Varina Howell Davis, and Julia Dent Grant by Carol Berkin

Here are the life stories of three women who connect us to our national past and provide windows onto a social and political landscape that is strangely familiar yet shockingly foreign.

Berkin focuses on three “accidental heroes” who left behind sufficient records to allow their voices to be heard clearly and to allow us to see the world as they did. Though they held no political power themselves, all three had access to power and unique perspectives on events of their time.

Angelina Grimké Weld, after a painful internal dialogue, renounced the values of her Southern family’s way of life and embraced the antislavery movement, but found her voice silenced by marriage to fellow reformer Theodore Weld. Varina Howell Davis had an independent mind and spirit but incurred the disapproval of her husband, Jefferson Davis, when she would not behave as an obedient wife. Though ill-prepared and ill-suited for her role as First Lady of the Confederacy, she became an expert political lobbyist for her husband’s release from prison. Julia Dent Grant, the wife of Ulysses S. Grant, was a model of genteel domesticity who seemed content with the restrictions of marriage and motherhood, even though they led to alternating periods of fame and disgrace, wealth and poverty. Only late in life did she glimpse the price of dependency.

Throughout, Berkin captures the tensions and animosities of the antebellum era and the disruptions, anxieties, and dislocations generated by the war and its aftermath.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781400044467
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/08/2009
Pages: 384
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Carol Berkin received her A.B. from Barnard College and her M.A. and Ph.D. from Columbia University. She taught at Baruch College from 1972 to 2008 and has taught at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York since 1983. She is currently Baruch Presidential Professor of History. Berkin is the author of Revolutionary Mothers: Women in the Struggle for America’s Independence, A Brilliant Solution: Inventing the American Constitution, Jonathan Sewall: Odyssey of an American Loyalist, First Generations: Women in Colonial America, and numerous articles and reviews. She lives in New York City and Guilford, Connecticut.

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Civil War Wives: The Lives and Times of Angelina Grimke Weld, Varina Howell Davis, and Julia Dent Grant 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Kt_Mamma More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed Civil War Wives! I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in the woman's perspective during the Civil War era. I thought it was very interesting how these three women's lives intersected with each other. It was well written. My only complaint is that there were several descriptors that she used that I had to pull out the dictionary to find the meaning. I may not have as good a vocabulary as some, however my husband didn't know what she was talking about either.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Civil War Wives does a great job in engaging and entertaining the reader, something very hard to find in history books. The author is able to bring the stories from these three women to life and doesn't ignore the small details that give them a personality. It's refreshing to read history from a women's point of view.
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