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I Had Rather Die: Rape in the Civil War Perfect Paperback – January 1, 2014


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Product Details

  • Perfect Paperback: 180 pages
  • Publisher: Coachlight Press, LLC (January 1, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1936785153
  • ISBN-13: 978-1936785155
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #805,700 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"...a gem of research that...strings together important narratives from the 450 or so rape or attempted rape cases that passed through the Union military courts in the Civil War era."--S. Gac, Trinity College for CHOICE, Current Reviews for Academic Libraries

"A meticulously documented and gut-wrenching account of the gratuitous acts of violence against women's bodies, black and white, slave and free, young and old... A major work of scholarship that was long overdue." --Susan Brownmiller, author of Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape

"Kim Murphy...found that women in war-torn areas brought numerous rape allegations to the attention of officials, some of which were prosecuted and many that were not..." --Mary R. Block, Valdosta State University

"...an impressive work of original and meticulous scholarship into a difficult aspect of the bloodiest war in American history to date. No academic library Civil War Studies collections can be considered complete or comprehensive without the inclusion of I Had Rather Die: Rape in the Civil War." --The Midwest Book Review

More About the Author

Kim Murphy's current release The Dreaming: Wind Talker is a mix of the modern and 17th-century Virginia (which includes witch trials). Her Civil War ghost stories, Whispers from the Grave and Whispers Through Time, have won several awards, including ForeWord Magazine's Book of the Year Award, an IPPY (Independent Publisher Book awards), as well a nomination for RT Reviewer's Choice award. Her debut novel, Promise & Honor, was a finalist in ForeWord's awards. Set during the U.S. Civil War, it focuses on the hardships of the civilians. The sequel, Honor & Glory, won ForeWord's Bronze Award in Historical Fiction, and the final book in the trilogy, Glory & Promise, was a Library of Virginia Literary Award nominee.

In addition to fiction, Kim is also the author of a nonfiction title, I Had Rather Die: Rape in the Civil War. She is currently working on the third book in The Dreaming series.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Edward Allan Faine on January 9, 2014
Format: Perfect Paperback
Kim Murphy here presents an extensive catalogue of rape cases drawn from Civil War military records (especially court-martial proceedings), newspapers, diaries, and letters. The core of the book is devoted the the cases, and this reader found the lot overwhelmingly repulsive. Case after case details soldiers invading homes, black and white (mostly the former) throwing women to the floor (girls, pregnant women, women only weeks from giving birth, grandmothers) and brutally raping them, mutilating and torturing them, in front of family members (young children, mothers, and restrained men, if they were present) and other soldiers. Numerous rapes occurred with the victim clutching an infant. For those that believe such disgusting acts only occured in foreign lands (Africa, Bosnia), think again, it happened here.

As far as punishment, rape then was a capital crime and many cases were brought to trial. And, as Murphy elucidates, black, poor white, and foreign born perpetrators received the stiffest sentences (some were executed), but overall the punishment was light given the severity of the crime, especially if the victim was black.

Murphy's pioneering work -- the first book on the topic -- is less an indictment of male behavior in wartime, than it is of the many historians who have ignored the subject, denying the citizenry a fuller understanding of that godawful war and its impacts on the American psyche. Murphy concludes: "Perhaps future historians will treat the subject with the weight it deserves. The records exist and have largely been ignored due to romanticism about the era."
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Larryderm on January 29, 2014
Format: Perfect Paperback
The subject of rape, and more particularly what occurred during the American Civil War, is a subject that I had never considered before. How the author was able to obtain so much information about the topic earns her many kudos.

War can bring out the best and the worst in people, but this is a case of deplorable conduct on the part of soldiers from both sides. Punishment varied and often was not commensurate with the crime. A slap on the wrist or death is neither what we would expect in contemporary society,

There is much detail here, recounting a wartime story that has been infrequently addressed in the past, if at all. For Civil War buffs or those interested in the ramifications of sexually transmitted diseases and accompanying behavior, this is a revealing treatise.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By BelgianSheepdogGirl on March 21, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a lifelong Civil War buff, I am always on the outlook for new areas of the Civil War to explore and this wonderful book highlights just that. It was a very enjoyable read and I learned new information about a critically overlooked area of the War. I had read in the past how soilders had abused graveyards, burned houses and railroads, etc., but this is the first time I have read of this crime against American women. I would highly recommend this informative delightful wonderful book to any student of Civil War history.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Fataah Ewe' on June 16, 2014
Format: Perfect Paperback
Kim Murphy somehow had the stomach and the deep patience
to pore thru massive national archived documentation
that Edward Allen Faine has mentioned,
to reveal a hidden side of the CW.
There was great vulnerability in the South, from the sheltered female
perspective, along with starving, & the predicament
of no means & no escape from the war arena.
One would think this would be an obvious rape scenario,
but back then uniformed men carried few tales off battlefields,
and the stain of rape was hidden by "despoiled" women.
Until Kim brought it up, none seemed to have given
a historical curious thought to what was a civilian womens' lot.
That rape trials were unusual in the period, & the war,
one can only suspect there was a greater number of actual rapes,
especially that the CW was so gruesome in casualties.
Inhumanity compounds itself in war, it seems. Not an easy book,
but essential for understanding that war.
Lots of documentation to back it up.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ambassador Jones on August 25, 2014
Format: Perfect Paperback Verified Purchase
Enlightening book about the general issue of how rape was addressed (or not) during the mid-1800's. Generally it is a listing of case narrative after case narrative which seems a bit dry and is sometimes difficult to follow as the author jumps from one story to another. What I did find very surprising was the number of times President Lincoln commuted sentences in these matters. Perhaps not as progressive a thinker when it came to women.
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