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A Fierce, Wild Joy: The Civil War Letters of Colonel Edward J. Wood, 48th Indiana Volunteer Infantry Regiment (Voices Of The Civil War) Hardcover – October 30, 2007

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Book Description

The ninety letters in this collection document the Civil War career of Col. Edward Jesup Wood, an officer of the 48th Indiana.  Evocative and rich in detail, <i>A Fierce, Wild Joy</i> offers a view of the war from an officer's perspective and provides important insights into the day-to-day administration of a Civil War regiment.

Wood was born in Florida to a Connecticut father and slave-owning mother, and orphaned in early youth. He was raised in New England to be an abolitionist, and at the age of fifteen he entered Dartmouth College. His military career began in 1861, and over the course of the war Wood's regiment participated in several key battles and campaigns, including Corinth, Vicksburg, Chattanooga, and the March to the Sea.

Thoughtful, intelligent, and articulate, Wood was a keen observer of details during his time in the Western Theater. His letters vividly bring the war to life as he describes the events of some of its most important campaigns. His change in perspective over time is evident: readers will witness Wood's naïve optimism for a quick and sure victory transform to dawning realization about the long haul and horrors of war.

Readers will appreciate Wood's broad view of the military campaign, political exigencies surrounding the war, and the effects of war on both North and South. A stark reminder of the war's costs are emphasized by Wood's later tragic life. He returned home and committed suicide before his fortieth birthday. <i>A Fierce, Wild Joy</i> includes biographical essays that put Wood in context and aptly remind readers that many who served in the war did not go home to peace and happiness.

Stephen E. Towne is assistant university archivist at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. His articles have appeared in <i>Indiana Magazine of History</i>, <i>Journalism History</i>, and <i>Civil War History</i>.

About the Author

Stephen E. Towne is assistant university archivist at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. His articles have appeared in <i>Indiana Magazine of History</i>, <i>Journalism History</i>, and <i>Civil War History</i>.
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Product Details

  • Series: Voices Of The Civil War
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Univ Tennessee Press; 1 edition (October 30, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1572335998
  • ISBN-13: 978-1572335998
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,193,142 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book because it is based on 90 letters written by an officer in my great-grandfather's Civil War unit and I wanted to know more about where he went and what he experienced. Official unit histories provide little of this. I enjoyed reading the letters--really got a sense of knowing Edward Wood--and it provided much of the insight I was looking for. Wood certainly thrived in the military environment, but was also torn between that and missing his wife and daughter terribly. This comes through clearly. The book is quite readable. I doubt many Civil War buffs would be interested in it, for it is not as exciting as many Civil War biographies, but it is an excellent source for historians who want to learn about the typical experiences of soldiers (in this case an officer) of the time. The introduction provides a clear analysis of Wood and his letters.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have developed an interest in the Civil War lately and really enjoyed this book. The letters show how life was during that time in history. You get a much better picture of things from the letters the soldiers wrote than you would ever get from any movie.
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