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64 of 67 people found the following review helpful
on November 20, 2002
"Quilts from the Civil War" not only contains project for reproducing numerous quilts of the 1850s and 1860s, it also contains an excellent discussion of the role quilts played in people's lives. Barbara Brackman describes quilts made for freedom fairs, by the Sanitary Commission for use by soldiers, and quilts made to express patriotic fervor. Brackman goes beyond a mere discussion of quilts, however, to discuss the development of chemical dyes, women's involvement in the war effort in general, the effect of the blockade on southern textile production, the need to hide quilts from occupying Yankee forces, and even the relationships that developed between quiltmakers and soldiers who received the donated quilt.
Brackman also examines the argument that quilts were used as clues for slaves escaping on the Underground Railroad, and concludes that these tales likely were a myth. (Nevertheless, she includes a Jacob's Ladder-style quilt that honors the Underground Railroad.) In evaluating this theory, she discusses the history of the Log Cabin quilt.
Period photographs of women and children, engravings of Sanitary Fairs and other gatherings, photographs of original and reproduction quilts and original dresses beautifully illustrate this book. Excerpts from journals, letters and newspaper articles and reprints of ads calling for the production of items for soldiers add further interest.
Brackman provides a unique timeline that combines both traditional historic events, such as "March 4, 1864 - Grant becomes Commander-in-Chief of the Union Army" with social or women's history, such as "August 1864 - Ladies Christian Commission of San Francisco sponsors a Grand Fair" and "October 5, 1864 - Mary Jones of Georgia records paying $16 a yard for calico."
Footnotes provide directions for those interested in further research.
One drawback is that the projects contained in the book do not faithfully reproduce the historic quilts. Some are fairly easy to adapt to make more authentic, such as the Underground Railroad quilt, which adds 8-pointed stars to a Four Patch in a Strip pattern. Since the book contains a picture of the original, a quiltmaker can easily see that by leaving off the stars, she can make a quilt that's closer to the original. Other patterns will take a little more ingenuity to adapt, but again, pictures of the originals should help.
Those mostly interested in southern quilts would probably do better with "Southern Quils: Surviving Relics of the Civil War." Brackman concludes that few quilts were produced in the Confederacy due to blockade-caused shortages of fabric, needles, thread and other necessities.
For those interested in trying some of the projects contained in the book, the directions are clear and easy to follow. Brackman provides strip quilting directions for some of the quilts (such as the Underground Railroad) but not for others where this technique could speed production (such as the Log Fence). The appendix contains excellent information on batting, quilting styles, binding and other details to give quilts a more period look.
Overall, despite projects that are more inspired by historic quilts than faithful reproductions, "Quilts from the Civil War" is an excellent source of information about textile production during the 1850s and 1860s.
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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on August 1, 1998
Not many people could write a book on old quilts as well as Barbara Brackman. After reading Clues In The Calico also, I decided to get Quilt from the Civil War....it was a wonderful choice. Ms Brackman not only brings to life the quilt but also the quilters themselves. The "new" quilts made in the manner of the Civl War era quilts are remarkable. I will be using this book for years to come, as inspiration, information resouce and just plain good reading. This is a GREAT quilter's book...and would make a wonderful gift for the quilterr who has very other book!!!
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on August 6, 2000
I purchased this book over a year ago and since that time I have referred to it repeatedly for ideas on historical fabrics and patterns. The text gives details about quilts and quiltmaking that can not easily be found elsewhere. The author's perspective on the subject is invaluable whether you make quilts, collect them or both. The historical quilts and newer quilts are beautiful. Quilts from the Civil War is my favorite among a collection of several dozen quilt-related titles.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on July 27, 2001
In "Quilts From the Civil War" you will find that glimpses of news items, letters, and diary entries blend with facts and myths to tell the story of quilt making surrounding the Civil War. Beginning with abolitionist quilts and ending with commemorative quilts Barbara Brackman tells the story that changed the course of our country. In this comprehensive book even the patterns are provided. You will find complete instructions for Underground Railroad quilts, patriotic quilts, Sanitary Commission quilts and many more. So your fascinating journey just begins with reading the history found in this book. That only prepares you for your personal quest to find reproduction fabrics as you began to plan to make your own period quilt.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on December 24, 1997
I bought this book to make a reproduction quilt for a friend who does Civil War reinactments. I was enthralled by the history I learned in this book. I've never found history interesting, but this book took me into the lives of the women who made the quilts. The only disappointment was that the main focus was on Union quilts. Ms. Brackman mentioned several Confederate quilts, but never published a picture or a reproduction of the quilts. I realize that Confederate quilts are rare (and I learned WHY in the book), but I would have liked a better balance. All and all, I found this book to be quite informative. I even bought an extra for my mom who doesn't quilt, but loves Civil War history.
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27 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on July 30, 1998
Having read and reviewed many books about quiltmaking, patchwork and the like, and also having read other of Brackman's books, I have to say that I was a bit disappointed in the projects and the directions for the "civil war" quilts etc. The patterns are not full size, which is not unusual, and there were very few authentic quilt photos of the civil war era. Most of the quilts featured were reproductions that varied widely from the originals, and did not inspire me to want to re create them. The text and background work, and also the repro quilts featured were good. I also would have liked an address of where they obtained the fabrics, and could not find out from reading the book. I checked this book out from the library, and would not highly recommend it...but, you may want to purchase it for the elaborate text if you loved the civil war.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on January 21, 1998
This book is an excellent source of period quilt patterns and textile designs. The text is both informative and easy to understand. However, I, too, would have appreciated some attention being paid to Southern quilts of the period. The difference in textile availability being what it was, it would be good to be able to note the differences...particularly since I'm making quilts for re-enactment members of a Confederate troop, and I'd like to be as accurate as possible. Lack of Southern participation aside, the book is excellent.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 5, 2014
I'm a visual person, and this book had no photos of the pieces in progress so I was disappointed. To me the best part of the book was the old images, photographs of women and children. Great idea for a book, but it could have been done better.
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on June 22, 2010
Barbara Brackman, need I say more? What a great book! The info is well presented and easy to follow. The quilts are fantastic. The book is one of a kind. If you like the history behind quilting or if you have an interest in the Civil War this will be a great book for you. Barbara has given us another well written book to add to the few we want to keep.
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on May 16, 2014
If you are into Civil War stories and quilts
You should add this to your collection. I have this one on my Nook they the Kindle
App. It's great to have a different book to
Take along on a trip! Thanks
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