"A fascinating, impressively researched, and lucidly written addition to the literature on emancipation."
-American Historical Review
"In a highly stimulating way this seminal work ties social, military, and political developments together into a powerful thesis about the making of the Federal decision for emancipation."
-Journal of American History
"A highly praiseworthy work that succeeds in combining traditional military history and social history to the benefit of both."
-Register of the Kentucky Historical Society
"This book effectively opens new doors of scholarly exploration."--
"Want proof that history isn't dead? Look no further than Glenn David Brasher's revelatory account of what happened in Virginia 150 years ago this summer.... Brasher shows that freedom wasn't something that happened to enslaved Virginians. They seized it the first moment they could.... Brasher's seminal book makes it hauntingly real."
"Recommended. All levels/libraries."
"Brasher presents an insightful description of this most fascinating, yet oddly overlooked chapter of American history. . . . A valuable addition to Civil War literature and this reviewer gives it high marks for research and candor. The book makes an excellent addition to any Civil War library."
-Blue & Gray Magazine
"[A] satisfying read, breaking new ground and laying the groundwork for future studies of Black/White relations on the front lines of the Civil War. This excellent book is well written, extensively researched, and convincingly argued. The University of North Carolina Press has a winner here."
-TOCWOC:A Civil War Blog
"[An] assiduously researched and highly illuminating work."
-Journal of Southern History
"Rarely does an author merge so seamlessly in one study a military history--a particular campaign, social history--slavery and history from the bottom up, and political history--the origins of the Emancipation Proclamation."
-Civil War Book Review
"This book does what history does at its best."
-Civil War Monitor
"This book, which is destined to become a mainstay in the historiography of emancipation, offers a constant reminder that history does not occur in a vacuum."
-Civil War News
"[Brasher] successfully challenges both myths [about slave participation in the Civil War], and in the process, places Virginia's slave population at the center of one of the most important military campaigns of 1862. . . . [This book] reminds us just how much the Union and Confederacy shared in their valuation of blacks during the war."
"No student of the Civil War who wants to give an informed answer when next confronted with the 'black Confederate' question can afford to miss this fine book."
-Civil War Monitor
"In vivid, deeply researched detail, Glenn David Brasher presents a crucial but almost unchronicled chapter of Civil War history. Anyone seeking to understand how the war to save the Union became a struggle for African American freedom should read this important book."--Adam Goodheart, author of 1861: The Civil War Awakening
"This impressive project belongs at the forefront of the conversation about how slavery fell apart on the ground in the midst of war. We come to realize the drama featured not a single actor or group of actors, but a cast of thousands whose actions and motivations we have not always understood very well." --Chandra M. Manning, Georgetown University