“In the Union and the Confederacy, in the armed forces and on the home front, the Civil War caused people of different races and ethnicities to interact in new ways. The well‒written, well‒researched essays in this important new book offer a fine‒grained narrative about the experiences of different ethnic groups during the Civil War. The essays also probe, in provocative ways, the intersection between military service and the call by different ethnic groups for fuller inclusion and citizenship. This book is not only a fascinating read, it makes a real contribution to the study of ethnic groups during the Civil War era.”
-Christian G. Samito,author of Becoming American Under Fire: Irish Americans, Africans Americans, and the Politics of Citizenship During the Civil War Era
“Civil War Citizens adds a new dimension to our understanding of the war by offering a window into the complex exchange between ethnic and national identity. The stories told here should have special resonance for our increasingly diverse society as it continues to debate the contours of citizenship and belonging. By showing how immigrants as well as native‒born Americans struggled over the meaning of democracy, freedom, and slavery, the essays also connect American history to the same debates going on around the world.”
-Aaron Sheehan‒Dean,author of Why Confederates Fought: Family and Nation in Civil War Virginia
“The illuminating essays in Civil War Citizens capture the view from below, where immigrants and other non‒whites confronted an array of confusing loyalties, often in conflict, always changing, and never clear cut in their meaning. This superb collection reveals that their identity as outsiders did not prescribe a united or single course of action. Civil War Citizens is an eye‒opening book, for it shows how people who existed on the political periphery were forced to rework their self‒understandings as individuals and as a collective group while also being denied their place in the nation that they were fighting and dying for.”
-Peter S. Carmichael,author of The Last Generation: Young Virginians in Peace, War, and Reunion
Susannah J. Ural is Associate Professor of History at the University of Southern Mississippi and a Senior Fellow of the Center for the Study of War and Society. She is the author of The Harp and the Eagle: Irish-American Volunteers and the Union Army, 1861-1865 (NYU Press, 2006).