From Library Journal
Using primary documents as well as standard historical works (e.g., Douglas Southall Freeman's biographies of Civil War leaders), Lowry, a physician and medical historian, weaves a fascinating history of a little-discussed aspect (sex) of a much-discussed subject (the Civil War). Beginning with the icons of the war, Lowry notes that the reputation of such saintlike figures as Lincoln, Lee, and Stonewall Jackson is well deserved. However, the rank and file present quite another story, and Lowry tells it in an easy, armchair-style prose that is well documented with letters, diaries, court records, and other primary evidence. From camp followers to gay lovers to vulgar language, Lowry examines Civil War-era sex from every conceivable angle. Recommended for public libraries and as ancillary reading in academic libraries where Civil War materials are collected.William Emory Buchanan, Clarion Univ., Pa.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Revisionist sexual history is commonly overloaded with jargon and psychobabble, and it often erects a ponderous structure of didactic theory on a slender foundation of data. Lowry commits neither of these faults and, in addition, exhibits great erudition and even wit. Drawing on a wide variety of primary sources--from letters that escaped the censoriousness of their writers' descendants to court-martial reports, prostitutes' diaries, and the modest remaining examples of very immodest Victorian erotica--Lowry argues that, in spite of Victorian mores, a thoroughly normal amount of sexual activity went on under the covers and in other places during the war. Rape may have been rare, but sexual activity was as universal as ever. Readers of this book will have fun, too. Roland Green