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Reluctant Rebels: The Confederates Who Joined the Army after 1861 (Civil War America) Hardcover – May 14, 2010
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Reluctant Rebels is a well-researched, highly readable book . . . . Anyone interested in Civil War history or the life of the Confederate soldier should definitely take a look at this offering.--The Historian
An enjoyable and informative read. Noe provides outstanding historiographical commentary. . . . Also weaves in some acute insights. . . . An excellent book that both expands the debate over wartime motivation and adds further nuance to the complexity of the Confederate mindset.--American Historical Review
Noe admirably stays impartial and transparent in his research throughout. He has produced a significant study worthy of debate in the scholarship on Civil War motivations." --The Journal of American History
Noe has provided the Civil War enthusiast with a fascinating presentation of excellent research. His study fills a gap in our understanding of all the men who fought for the Confederacy.--New York Journal of Books
Noe's command of the secondary literature is impeccable and his archival research nothing less than heroic. . . . A highly readable, judiciously argued book that fills a crucial gap in the literature on Civil War soldiers. It will be of interest to Civil War scholars and buffs alike.--Journal of East Tennessee History
A must read. . . . Ground breaking . . . the best book out this year.--Authentic Campaigner
While broad historical generalizations remain faceless, Noe personalizes the accounts….[His] sampling serves to create a situation in which the reader can more easily empathize with the motivations and actions of the men in question….The structure of his study and the conscientious approach to his research offer an excellent model for undergraduate and graduate students as well as for independent researchers.--Virginia Libraries
The writing is excellent, the research is complete and the analysis on target. . . . If you want a challenging, thought-provoking book, you will be hard pressed to find a better candidate.--TOCWOC-A Civil War Blog
Ken Noe has crafted a thought-provoking, well-researched, poignant window into a neglected topic….Noe's book is important and begs to be read….Civil War historians and educated lay readers will grapple with this book and its underlying research for years to come." --Southern Historian
With insight and skill, Noe hands down some provocative judgments.--Civil War Book Review
Readers will find this an interesting [study] on a previously unaddressed element of Civil War history.--The Post and Courier
An absorbing study. . . . Thought provoking. . . . This excellent book provides a more complete portrait of Johnny Reb. . . Highly recommended.--Choice
Compelling. . . . This superb study effectively engages previous scholarship and fills a neat niche in the literature.--America's Civil War
[Noe's] book is one to be studied and admired.--Journal of Southern History
Scholars and the large audience of Civil War readers will find interesting insights in [this] book.--H-Net Reviews
This fine study . . . answers questions about motivation and enlistment that have hovered over the field for generations. . . . The strengths of Noe's book lie in his clear prose, deep research, and persuasive analysis.--Virginia Magazine of History and Biography
Noe's deft analysis of primary sources…sheds light on a previously under-analyzed portion of the Confederate army….Reluctant Rebels will help readers better understand community, family, gender, and the complexity of Southern society during the Civil War.--The North Carolina Historical Review
Reluctant Rebels adds nuance and range in its answer to the well-worn question of why soldiers fought. It reminds readers of the varied motivations and experiences of Johnny Reb.--Arkansas Historical Quarterly
A valuable monograph, which will stand with books by James McPherson and Bell Wiley among standards on Confederate soldiers. . . . Noe presents insights not only into these late comers, but also into those who came early and remained throughout the war. . . . The publications of books like this one demonstrates the vitality of such study and the potential for public learning. . . . We need more books like this one to document facts.--Review of Politics
Noe provides his insights in a fair-minded manner. . . . We need more books like this one to document facts.--The Review of Politics
Those attracted to Civil War history and those interested in the interrelationships between culture and war in varied historical contexts should find this work of interest.--The Courier
A valuable monograph, which will stand with books by James McPherson and Bell Wiley among standard studies on Confederate soldiers….We need more books like this one to document facts.--The Review of Politics
Absorbing and thought-provoking. . . . Such impressive scholarly analysis and writing, coupled with quality design and materials, make this a captivating volume that all students of the Civil War in general and the Confederacy in particular will want to read.--Civil War News
In this first-rate book, Noe carves out new terrain in a crowded field by identifying a significant new cohort of men to analyze: those who enlisted after the first wave of volunteering. Creating a new landmark in the historiography of the motivations of soldiers, Reluctant Rebels is an impressive work that captures the complex nature of the human condition.--William A. Blair, author of Cities of the Dead: Contesting the Memory of the Civil War in the South, 1865-1914
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Top Customer Reviews
The book contains three main sections: "When Our Rights Were Threatened", "Fighting for Property We Gained by Honest Toil" and "We are a Band of Brothers and Native to the Soil". Each section contains essays that illustrate the topic. This organization allows concentration on a specific topic in the area. The author has arraigned these essays and topics to build our understanding of the men and the differences from the early enlistees. Each essay is about twenty pages, all are thought provoking.Read more ›
Noe's introduction, titled "What They Did Not Fight For," places his work within Civil War soldier historiography and provides as good a summary of the topic as one can find. Yet in every case, Noe writes, historians have concentrated on the writings of especially patriotic volunteers, leading to "a voluminous literature on `Civil War soldiers' that is in actuality only a detailed study of the most motivated men who enlisted in the first year or so of the war ... Others are ignored or else shunted aside" (7). He particularly takes issue with James M. McPherson's assertion that "the prototypical unwilling soldier ...Read more ›
I have only one, minor objection: The survey sample is very small (not due to any lack of research on the apart of the author) and must be considered in that light. The author expresses his observations in percentages, sometimes to a tenth of a percentage point. As a technically trained person, I find this attempt attribute precision to the imprecise to be annoying. But that is just me.
I recommend this book to anyone who wishes to delve more deeply into the motivations of a forgotten segment of Confederate soldiery.