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Reluctant Rebels: The Confederates Who Joined the Army after 1861 (Civil War America) Hardcover


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Reluctant Rebels: The Confederates Who Joined the Army after 1861 (Civil War America) + Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation: The End of Slavery in America
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Product Details

  • Series: Civil War America
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press; Book Club Edition edition (April 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807833770
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807833773
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 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: #1,239,554 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Noe provides his insights in a fair-minded manner. . . . We need more books like this one to document facts."
-The Review of Politics

"A must read. . . . Ground breaking . . . the best book out this year."
-Authentic Campaigner

"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

"With insight and skill, Noe hands down some provocative judgments."
-Civil War Book Review

"[Noe's] book is one to be studied and admired."
-Journal of Southern History

"Well researched and finely written….An excellent work and highly recommended."
-Blue & Gray Magazine

"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

"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

"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

"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

"An absorbing study. . . . Uncovers some very interesting and thought-provoking material. . . . This excellent book provides a more complete portrait of Johnny Reb. . . . Highly recommended."
-Choice

"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

"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

"Noe makes an important contribution to our understanding of Civil War soldiers in his well-written and entertaining work."
-The Alabama Review

"Scholars and the large audience of Civil War readers will find interesting insights in [this] book."
- H-Net Reviews

"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

"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

"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

"Readers will find this an interesting [study] on a previously unaddressed element of Civil War history."
-The Post and Courier

"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

"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

"Compelling. . . . This superb study effectively engages previous scholarship and fills a neat niche in the literature."
-America's Civil War

"An absorbing study. . . . Thought provoking. . . . This excellent book provides a more complete portrait of Johnny Reb. . . Highly recommended."
-Choice

"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

"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

From the Inside Flap

After the feverish mobilization of secession had faded, why did Southern men join the Confederate army? Noe examines the motives and subsequent performance of "later enlisters." He refutes the claim that they were more likely to desert or perform poorly in battle and reassesses the argument that they were less ideologically savvy than their counterparts who enlisted early. He argues that kinship and neighborhood, not conscription, compelled these men to fight. But their age often combined with their duties to wear them down more quickly than younger men, making them less effective soldiers.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By James W. Durney TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 5, 2010
Format: Hardcover
We are enamored with first, in Civil War histories that means men who rush to enlist in 1861. Much of the social history of the war is from their viewpoint. Much of the battle history concentrates on these men and their units. Kenneth W. Noe does not slight these men but looks to the class of 1862 and how they differ from the initial enlistees. Using a sample of 320 men that by enlistment, draft or service as a substitute enter the Confederate army after the initial rush. He details their attitudes, feeling and experiences. While serving as our guide and keeping the narration moving, the author allows these men to "speak" for themselves whenever possible. This book is a thoughtful detailed statistical analysis of these men and by extension the thousands of similar men in CSA armies. This is not a glory of war advance the flag history. This is a personal detailed look at what is often an unpleasant and unwanted experience. It is a view of war we do not often see, where quite determination, comradeship and a sense of duty sustain men. This is the closest I have come to feeling what men in the Confederate ranks felt. The writing is excellent, the research is complete and the analysis on target.
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.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By William D. Hickox on November 6, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The study of Civil War soldiers has come a long way since the publication of Bell I. Wiley's classic 1943 work The Life of Johnny Reb: The Common Soldier of the Confederacy. In the intervening decades an impressive array of historians built on Wiley's once-innovative approach of focusing on ordinary combatants. The last 23 years in particular have seen a large body of scholarship exploring the motivations that drove Americans to take up arms. Most of these works take issue with Wiley's assumption that soldiers were not motivated by ideology and assert that soldiers' writings indicate a widespread awareness of, and identification with, their national causes. For instance, it is no longer possible to convincingly argue that ordinary Confederates had little interest in protecting slavery, for historians have demonstrated that white Southerners had a personal stake in the white supremacy and bondage system upon which their society was built. Now Kenneth W. Noe has stepped into this vibrant field of scholarship with a book examining "later enlisters"--those Rebel soldiers who joined the war effort after the initial burst of volunteering.

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 ...
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