For Cause and Comrades

For Cause and Comrades
Author: James M. McPherson
Pages: 256
ISBN: 0199741050
Available:
Release: 1997-04-03
Editor: Oxford University Press
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

General John A. Wickham, commander of the famous 101st Airborne Division in the 1970s and subsequently Army Chief of Staff, once visited Antietam battlefield. Gazing at Bloody Lane where, in 1862, several Union assaults were brutally repulsed before they finally broke through, he marveled, "You couldn't get American soldiers today to make an attack like that." Why did those men risk certain death, over and over again, through countless bloody battles and four long, awful years ? Why did the conventional wisdom -- that soldiers become increasingly cynical and disillusioned as war progresses -- not hold true in the Civil War? It is to this question--why did they fight--that James McPherson, America's preeminent Civil War historian, now turns his attention. He shows that, contrary to what many scholars believe, the soldiers of the Civil War remained powerfully convinced of the ideals for which they fought throughout the conflict. Motivated by duty and honor, and often by religious faith, these men wrote frequently of their firm belief in the cause for which they fought: the principles of liberty, freedom, justice, and patriotism. Soldiers on both sides harkened back to the Founding Fathers, and the ideals of the American Revolution. They fought to defend their country, either the Union--"the best Government ever made"--or the Confederate states, where their very homes and families were under siege. And they fought to defend their honor and manhood. "I should not lik to go home with the name of a couhard," one Massachusetts private wrote, and another private from Ohio said, "My wife would sooner hear of my death than my disgrace." Even after three years of bloody battles, more than half of the Union soldiers reenlisted voluntarily. "While duty calls me here and my country demands my services I should be willing to make the sacrifice," one man wrote to his protesting parents. And another soldier said simply, "I still love my country." McPherson draws on more than 25,000 letters and nearly 250 private diaries from men on both sides. Civil War soldiers were among the most literate soldiers in history, and most of them wrote home frequently, as it was the only way for them to keep in touch with homes that many of them had left for the first time in their lives. Significantly, their letters were also uncensored by military authorities, and are uniquely frank in their criticism and detailed in their reports of marches and battles, relations between officers and men, political debates, and morale. For Cause and Comrades lets these soldiers tell their own stories in their own words to create an account that is both deeply moving and far truer than most books on war. Battle Cry of Freedom, McPherson's Pulitzer Prize-winning account of the Civil War, was a national bestseller that Hugh Brogan, in The New York Times, called "history writing of the highest order." For Cause and Comrades deserves similar accolades, as McPherson's masterful prose and the soldiers' own words combine to create both an important book on an often-overlooked aspect of our bloody Civil War, and a powerfully moving account of the men who fought it.

For Cause and Comrades

For Cause and Comrades
Author: James M. McPherson
Pages: 237
ISBN: 0195124995
Available:
Release: 1997
Editor: Oxford University Press, USA
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

Drawing on thousands of letters and diaries by soldiers on both sides, shows how the soldiers remained firmly committed to their ideals throughout the Civil War.

Battle Cry of Freedom

Battle Cry of Freedom
Author: James M. McPherson
Pages: 952
ISBN: 9780199726585
Available:
Release: 2003-12-11
Editor: Oxford University Press
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

Filled with fresh interpretations and information, puncturing old myths and challenging new ones, Battle Cry of Freedom will unquestionably become the standard one-volume history of the Civil War. James McPherson's fast-paced narrative fully integrates the political, social, and military events that crowded the two decades from the outbreak of one war in Mexico to the ending of another at Appomattox. Packed with drama and analytical insight, the book vividly recounts the momentous episodes that preceded the Civil War--the Dred Scott decision, the Lincoln-Douglas debates, John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry--and then moves into a masterful chronicle of the war itself--the battles, the strategic maneuvering on both sides, the politics, and the personalities. Particularly notable are McPherson's new views on such matters as the slavery expansion issue in the 1850s, the origins of the Republican Party, the causes of secession, internal dissent and anti-war opposition in the North and the South, and the reasons for the Union's victory. The book's title refers to the sentiments that informed both the Northern and Southern views of the conflict: the South seceded in the name of that freedom of self-determination and self-government for which their fathers had fought in 1776, while the North stood fast in defense of the Union founded by those fathers as the bulwark of American liberty. Eventually, the North had to grapple with the underlying cause of the war--slavery--and adopt a policy of emancipation as a second war aim. This "new birth of freedom," as Lincoln called it, constitutes the proudest legacy of America's bloodiest conflict. This authoritative volume makes sense of that vast and confusing "second American Revolution" we call the Civil War, a war that transformed a nation and expanded our heritage of liberty.

What this Cruel War was Over

What this Cruel War was Over
Author: Chandra Manning
Pages: 350
ISBN: 9780307277329
Available:
Release: 2008
Editor: Vintage
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

Drawing on the diaries and letters of soldiers on both sides of the conflict, a close-up look at the meaning of slavery to Union and Confederate troops reveals how Union soldiers called for emancipation long before the Emancipation Proclamation and how Confederate soldiers believed that abolition would destroy the very fabric of Southern society. Reprint.

Letters Of A Civil War Surgeon

Letters Of A Civil War Surgeon
Author: Major William Watson
Pages: 118
ISBN: 9781786254832
Available:
Release: 2015-11-06
Editor: Pickle Partners Publishing
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

“From September 1862 until May 1865, Major William Watson served as surgeon with the 105th Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers, which fought at Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, the Wilderness, and elsewhere. Over the course of three years at war, he wrote 91 letters to his family, in which he describes his own war against death and disease. This well-educated and sensitive young man has left us a variety of impressions of camp life, marches, and battles; of a soldier’s matter-of-fact willingness to accept-though not without grumbling-the rigors of his lot, of concern with the job at hand and with immediate needs like food and shelter; and of a veteran’s indifference to the flag-waving of professional patriots. In spite of his often acute criticisms of the Union’s military leadership, Watson never faltered in his belief in the Union cause and the ultimate outcome of the war nor in his dedication to Lincoln’s major goals.”-Print ed.

Writing the Civil War

Writing the Civil War
Author: James M. McPherson,William J. Cooper, Jr.
Pages: 368
ISBN: 9781643362212
Available:
Release: 2021-04-16
Editor: Univ of South Carolina Press
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

No event has transformed the United States more fundamentally—or been studied more exhaustively—than the Civil War. In Writing the Civil War, fourteen distinguished historians present a wide-ranging examination of the vast effort to chronicle the conflict—an undertaking that began with the remembrances of Civil War veterans and has become an increasingly prolific field of scholarship. Covering topics from battlefield operations to the impact of race and gender, this volume is an informative guide through the labyrinth of Civil War literature. The contributors provide authoritative and interpretive evaluations of the study and explication of the struggle that has been called the American Iliad.

Why Comrades Go to War

Why Comrades Go to War
Author: Philip Roessler,Harry Verhoeven
Pages: 512
ISBN: 9780190864552
Available:
Release: 2017-12
Editor: Oxford University Press, USA
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

In October 1996, a group of ageing Marxists and unemployed youth coalesced to revolt against Mobutu Seso Seko, president of Zaire/Congo since 1965. Backed by a Rwanda-led regional coalition that drew support from Asmara to Luanda, the rebels of the AFDL marched over 1500 kilometers inseven months to crush the dictatorship. To the Congolese rebels and their Pan-Africanist allies, the vanquishing of the Mobutu regime represented nothing short of a "second independence" for Congo and Central Africa as a whole and the dawning of a new regional order of peace and security. Within fifteen months, however, Central Africa's "liberation peace" would collapse, triggering a cataclysmic fratricide between the heroes of the war against Mobutu and igniting the deadliest conflict since World War II. This book gives an account Africa's Great War. It argues that the seeds of Africa's Great War were sown in the revolutionary struggle against Mobutu- the way the revolution came together, the way it was organized, and, paradoxically, the very way it succeeded. In particular, the book argues that the overthrow of Mobutu proved a Pyrrhic victory because the protagonists ignored the philosophy of Julius Nyerere, the father of Africa's liberation movements: they put the gun before the unglamorous but essential task of building the domestic and regional political institutions and organizational structures necessary to consolidate peace after revolution.

War on the Waters

War on the Waters
Author: James M. McPherson
Pages: 288
ISBN: 9780807837320
Available:
Release: 2012-09-17
Editor: UNC Press Books
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

Although previously undervalued for their strategic impact because they represented only a small percentage of total forces, the Union and Confederate navies were crucial to the outcome of the Civil War. In War on the Waters, James M. McPherson has crafted an enlightening, at times harrowing, and ultimately thrilling account of the war's naval campaigns and their military leaders. McPherson recounts how the Union navy's blockade of the Confederate coast, leaky as a sieve in the war's early months, became increasingly effective as it choked off vital imports and exports. Meanwhile, the Confederate navy, dwarfed by its giant adversary, demonstrated daring and military innovation. Commerce raiders sank Union ships and drove the American merchant marine from the high seas. Southern ironclads sent several Union warships to the bottom, naval mines sank many more, and the Confederates deployed the world's first submarine to sink an enemy vessel. But in the end, it was the Union navy that won some of the war's most important strategic victories--as an essential partner to the army on the ground at Fort Donelson, Vicksburg, Port Hudson, Mobile Bay, and Fort Fisher, and all by itself at Port Royal, Fort Henry, New Orleans, and Memphis.

The Won Cause

The Won Cause
Author: Barbara A. Gannon
Pages: 296
ISBN: 9780807877708
Available:
Release: 2011-05-30
Editor: UNC Press Books
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

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.

Personal Memoirs of John H Brinton

Personal Memoirs of John H  Brinton
Author: John Hill Brinton
Pages: 361
ISBN: 0809320444
Available:
Release: 1996
Editor: SIU Press
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

John Hill Brinton (1832-1907) met, observed, and commented on practically the entire hierarchy of the Union army; serving as medical director for Ulysses S. Grant, he came into contact with Philip H. Sheridan, John C. Frémont, Henry W. Halleck, William A. Hammond, D. C. Buell, John A. Rawlins, James Birdseye McPherson, C. F. Smith, John A. McClernand, William S. Rosecrans, and his first cousin George Brinton McClellan. John Y. Simon points out in his foreword that Brinton was one of the first to write about a relatively obscure Grant early in the war: "Brinton found a quiet and unassuming man smoking a pipe--he could not yet afford cigars-- and soon recognized a commander with mysterious strength of intellect and character." Positioned perfectly to observe the luminaries of the military, Brinton also occupied a unique perspective from which to comment on the wretched state of health and medicine in the Union army and on the questionable quality of medical training he found among surgeons. With both A.B. and A.M. degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and postgraduate training in Paris and Vienna at a time when most medical schools required only a grammar school education, Brinton was exceptional among Civil War doctors. He found, as John S. Haller, Jr., notes in his preface, "the quality of candidates for surgeon's appointments was meager at best." As president of the Medical Examining Board, Brinton had to lower his standards at the insistence of Secretary of War Edwin Stanton. Haller points out that one "self-educated candidate for an appointment as brigade surgeon explained to the board that he could do 'almost anything, from scalping an Indian, up and down.'" Brinton assigned this singular candidate to duty in Kansas "where Brinton hoped he would do the least amount of damage." Throughout the war, the dearth of qualified surgeons created problems. Brinton's memoirs reveal a remarkable Civil War surgeon, a witness to conditions in Cairo, the Battle of Belmont, and the Siege of Fort Donelson who encountered almost every Union military leader of note. Brinton wrote his memoirs for the edification of his family, not for public consumption. Yet he was, as Haller notes, a "keen observer of character." And with the exception of Brinton's acceptance of late nineteenth-century gossip favorable to his cousin General McClellan, Simon finds the memoirs "remarkable for accuracy and frankness." His portrait of Grant is vivid, and his comments on the state of medicine during the war help explain, in Haller's terms, why the "Civil War was such a medical and human tragedy."

the real war will never get in the books

    the real war will never get in the books
Author: Louis P. Masur
Pages: 320
ISBN: 0199726868
Available:
Release: 1995-07-13
Editor: Oxford University Press
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

"These thousands, and tens and twenties of thousands of American young men, badly wounded, all sorts of wounds, operated on, pallid with diarrhea, languishing, dying with fever, pneumonia, &c. open a new world somehow to me, giving closer insights, new things, exploring deeper mines than any yet, showing our humanity, (I sometimes put myself in fancy in the cot, with typhoid, or under the knife,) tried by terrible, fearfulest tests, probed deepest, the living soul's, the body's tragedies, bursting the petty bounds of art." So wrote Walt Whitman in March of 1863, in a letter telling friends in New York what he had witnessed in Washington's war hospitals. In this, we see both a description of war's ravages and a major artist's imaginative response to the horrors of war as it "bursts the petty bounds of art." In "...the real war will never get in the books", Louis Masur has brought together fourteen of the most eloquent and articulate writers of the Civil War period, including such major literary figures as Nathaniel Hawthorne, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Frederick Douglass, Herman Melville, Walt Whitman, Henry Adams, and Louisa May Alcott. Drawing on a wide range of material, including diaries, letters, and essays, Masur captures the reactions of these writers as the war was waged, providing a broad spectrum of views. Emerson, for instance, sees the war "come as a frosty October, which shall restore intellectual & moral power to these languid & dissipated populations." African-American writer Charlotte Forten writes sadly of the slaughter at Fort Wagner: "It seems very, very hard that the best and noblest must be the earliest called away. Especially has it been so throughout this dreadful war." There are writings by soldiers in combat. John Esten Cooke, a writer of popular pre-Revolutionary romances serving as a Confederate soldier under J.E.B. Stuart, describes Stonewall Jackson's uniform: "It was positively scorched by sun--had that dingy hue, the product of sun and rain, and contact with the ground...but the men of the old Stonewall Brigade loved that coat." And John De Forest, a Union officer, describes facing a Confederate volley: "It was a long rattle like that which a boy makes in running with a stick along a picket-fence, only vastly louder; and at the same time the sharp, quiet whit-whit of bullets chippered close to our ears." And along the way, we sample many vivid portraits of the era, perhaps the most surprising of which is Louisa May Alcott's explanation of why she preferred her noon-to-midnight schedule in a Washington hospital: "I like it as it leaves me time for a morning run which is what I need to keep well....I trot up & down the streets in all directions, some times to the Heights, then half way to Washington, again to the hill over which the long trains of army wagons are constantly vanishing & ambulances appearing. That way the fighting lies, & I long to follow." With unmatched intimacy and immediacy, "...the real war will never get in the books" illuminates the often painful intellectual and emotional efforts of fourteen accomplished writers as they come to grips with "The American Apocalypse."

The Negro s Civil War

The Negro s Civil War
Author: James M. McPherson
Pages: 400
ISBN: 9780307488602
Available:
Release: 2008-12-10
Editor: Vintage
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

In this classic study, Pulitzer Prize-winning author James M. McPherson deftly narrates the experience of blacks--former slaves and soldiers, preachers, visionaries, doctors, intellectuals, and common people--during the Civil War. Drawing on contemporary journalism, speeches, books, and letters, he presents an eclectic chronicle of their fears and hopes as well as their essential contributions to their own freedom. Through the words of these extraordinary participants, both Northern and Southern, McPherson captures African-American responses to emancipation, the shifting attitudes toward Lincoln and the life of black soldiers in the Union army. Above all, we are allowed to witness the dreams of a disenfranchised people eager to embrace the rights and the equality offered to them, finally, as citizens.

What They Fought For 1861 1865

What They Fought For  1861 1865
Author: James M. McPherson
Pages: 88
ISBN: 0385476345
Available:
Release: 1994
Editor: Anchor
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

An analysis of the Civil War, drawing on letters and diaries by more than one thousand soldiers, gives voice to the personal reasons behind the war, offering insight into the ideology that shaped both sides. Reprint.

Why Texans Fought in the Civil War

Why Texans Fought in the Civil War
Author: Charles David Grear
Pages: 256
ISBN: 9781603448093
Available:
Release: 2012-09-01
Editor: Texas A&M University Press
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

In Why Texans Fought in the Civil War, Charles David Grear provides insights into what motivated Texans to fight for the Confederacy. Mining important primary sources—including thousands of letters and unpublished journals—he affords readers the opportunity to hear, often in the combatants’ own words, why it was so important to them to engage in tumultuous struggles occurring so far from home. As Grear notes, in the decade prior to the Civil War the population of Texas had tripled. The state was increasingly populated by immigrants from all parts of the South and foreign countries. When the war began, it was not just Texas that many of these soldiers enlisted to protect, but also their native states, where they had family ties.

The Struggle for the Life of the Republic

The Struggle for the Life of the Republic
Author: Charles Dana Miller
Pages: 301
ISBN: 0873387856
Available:
Release: 2004
Editor: Kent State University Press
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

Brevet Major Miller served as a regimental adjutant and rose in rank to captain. He describes in detail the hardships and routines of camp life and the battles from Fort Donelson to Jonesboro. This post-war memoir includes descriptions and impressions of such leaders as Ulysses S. Grant.

Hallowed Ground

Hallowed Ground
Author: James McPherson
Pages: 224
ISBN: 9780760347768
Available:
Release: 2015-05-06
Editor: Unknown
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

'[I]n a larger sense, we can not dedicate-we can not consecrate-we can not hallow-this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our power to add or detract.' - President Abraham Lincoln

Ring of Steel

Ring of Steel
Author: Alexander Watson
Pages: 816
ISBN: 9780141924199
Available:
Release: 2014-08-07
Editor: Penguin UK
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

Sunday Times History Book of the Year 2014 Winner of the 2014 Wolfson History Prize, the 2014 Guggenheim-Lehrman Prize in Military History, the Society for Military History's 2015 Distinguished Book Award and the 2015 British Army Military Book of the Year For the empires of Germany and Austria-Hungary the Great War - which had begun with such high hopes for a fast, dramatic outcome - rapidly degenerated as invasions of both France and Serbia ended in catastrophe. For four years the fighting now turned into a siege on a quite monstrous scale. Europe became the focus of fighting of a kind previously unimagined. Despite local successes - and an apparent triumph in Russia - Germany and Austria-Hungary were never able to break out of the the Allies' ring of steel. In Alexander Watson's compelling new history of the Great War, all the major events of the war are seen from the perspective of Berlin and Vienna. It is fundamentally a history of ordinary people. In 1914 both empires were flooded by genuine mass enthusiasm and their troubled elites were at one with most of the population. But the course of the war put this under impossible strain, with a fatal rupture between an ever more extreme and unrealistic leadership and an exhausted and embittered people. In the end they failed and were overwhelmed by defeat and revolution.

The Fall of the House of Dixie

The Fall of the House of Dixie
Author: Bruce C. Levine
Pages: 439
ISBN: 9781400067039
Available:
Release: 2013
Editor: Random House Incorporated
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

A revisionist history of the radical transformation of the American South during the Civil War examines the economic, social and political deconstruction and rebuilding of Southern institutions as experienced by everyday people. By the award-winning author of Confederate Emancipation.

The Union Soldier in Battle

The Union Soldier in Battle
Author: Earl J. Hess
Pages: 244
ISBN: UOM:39015036070368
Available:
Release: 1997
Editor: Unknown
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

With its relentless bloodshed, devastating firepower, and large-scale battles often fought on impossible terrain, the Civil War was a terrifying experience for a volunteer army. Yet, as Earl Hess shows, Union soldiers found the wherewithal to endure such terrors for four long years and emerge victorious. A vivid reminder that the business of war is killing, Hess's study plunges us into the hellish realms of Civil War combat - a horrific experience crowded with brutalizing sights, sounds, smells, and textures. Drawing extensively upon the letters, diaries, and memoirs of Northern soldiers, Hess reveals their deepest fears and shocks, and also their sources of inner strength. By identifying recurrent themes found in these accounts, Hess constructs a multilayered view of the many ways in which these men coped with the challenges of battle. He shows how they were bolstered by belief in God and country, or simply by their sense of duty; and how they came to rely on the support of their comrades; and how they learned to muster self-control in order to persevere from one battle to the next.

Syria s Secret Library

Syria s Secret Library
Author: Mike Thomson
Pages: 320
ISBN: 9781541767614
Available:
Release: 2019-08-20
Editor: PublicAffairs
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

The remarkable story of a small, makeshift library in the town of Daraya, and the people who found hope and humanity in its books during a four-year siege. Daraya lies on the fringe of Damascus, just southwest of the Syrian capital. Yet for four years it lived in another world. Besieged by government forces early in the Syrian Civil War, its people were deprived of food, bombarded by heavy artillery, and under the constant fire of snipers. But deep beneath this scene of frightening devastation lay a hidden library. While the streets above echoed with shelling and rifle fire, the secret world below was a haven of books. Long rows of well-thumbed volumes lined almost every wall: bloated editions with grand leather covers, pocket-sized guides to Syrian poetry, and no-nonsense reference books, all arranged in well-ordered lines. But this precious horde was not bought from publishers or loaned by other libraries--they were the books salvaged and scavenged at great personal risk from the doomed city above. The story of this extraordinary place and the people who found purpose and refuge in it is one of hope, human resilience, and above all, the timeless, universal love of literature and the compassion and wisdom it fosters.