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Comment: Good (+). Ex-library copy with typical markings. Light wear. Crisp and tight; unmarked text. Great reading copy.
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War Stories: Suffering and Sacrifice in the Civil War North Hardcover – September 15, 2011

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Editorial Reviews


“The quality of Frances M. Clarke’s elegant writing, her imaginative approach to the material, and above all, the argument of War Stories—that the sentimental tales of heroic soldiers reveal a previously unacknowledged veneration of suffering in American culture—are all noteworthy. Clarke's assertion that Civil War soldiers really did behave in the heroic manner described by friends, loved ones, and propagandists will no doubt be controversial—but in the best possible way. This is an excellent work of cultural and intellectual history, one that should interest not only scholars of the Civil War, but also intellectual and gender historians, students of volunteerism, and those engaged with the very public nature of nineteenth-century suffering.”

(Amy Greenberg, Penn State University)

“A skilled analyst of cultural life, Frances M. Clarke offers an impressively sharp account of the Civil War as a very particular moment in American history when sentimentality was harnessed to national purpose. By adopting a comparative perspective on sentimentality she shows how differently the same developments—the suffering of war wounds, personal preparation for death, and the justification of the national mission—were treated before, in the Napoleonic wars, and after, in World War I. Exemplary in its treatment of sources and graceful in its writing, this book reanimates a discussion about the cultural and intellectual history of the American Civil War. War Stories is a tour de force.”

(Stephanie McCurry, University of Pennsylvania)

“Clarke proves her worth as a compelling writer and meticulous researcher with this work set during and after the Civil War.”


 “In her excellent book, Frances M. Clarke offers a nuanced and moving interpretation of these sincere efforts to make sense of the carnage, sacrifice, and disappointment of war. . . . This is a tightly argued, superbly written, and convincing interpretation of an often overlooked slice of American culture. It really is a model for grappling with the issues raised by the cultural manifestations of war ni any era.”
(American Historical Review)

“[Clarke] presents a layered, nuanced, and focused study grounded in solid, careful, and creative research on pro-Union Northern understandings of suffering twined with sentimentality and articulated through the telling and retelling of war stories during and immediately after the Civil War.”
(Journal of American History)

 “Delightful to read. . . . What gives this book special appeal is the emotional element so often missing in historical studies.”

About the Author

Frances M. Clarke is senior lecturer in the Department of History at the University of Sydney.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press (September 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226108627
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226108629
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,759,849 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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I cannot say enough good things about this book. It is beautifully written, well researched, and well argued. If you want to understand how soldiers and civilians made deep meaning of the war, how they were able to find purpose in suffering, and how they were able to move beyond Appomattox believing that they were an exceptional people blessed, by God, then War Stories is a must read
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