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Weirding the War: Stories from the Civil War's Ragged Edges (Uncivil Wars) Paperback – October 1, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Weirding the War is an eclectic mix of absorbing essays on the American Civil War. It shatters conventional paradigms, asking new questions and offering fresh insights into a war that continues to fascinate, even obsess, both academic and popular audiences."—Victoria Bynum, author of The Long Shadow of the Civil War: Southern Dissent and Its Legacies



“Saying something truly new about the American Civil War seems impossible, but here is a book that offers an explosion of new perspectives and insights, often surprising and sometimes disturbing. Read this book and you will never be able to imagine again whatever Civil War you imagined before.”—Edward L. Ayers, winner of the Bancroft Prize for In the Presence of Mine Enemies: The Civil War in the Heart of America, 1859-1863



"Emphasizing selfishness and its victims, not sacrifice, the authors provide insights into the war's cultural and social history by looking at persons on the margins, oftentimes considered 'weird' by society's mainstream. . . . Weirding the War matters not because its characters exhibited oddities or peculiarities, but rather because of their intensely human, commonplace experiences, strengths and weaknesses. Their mundane stories remind us of the 'weirdness' of war generally and the connection between individuals in the past and ourselves."—John David Smith, News & Observer


“Berry and his contributors manage to accomplish their goal and weird the Civil War. . . . Ironically, it is by breaking Civil War history from the limitations of the Civil War narrative that we can introduce twenty-first-century Americans to their counterparts in the nineteenth century—weird.”—Barbara A. Gannon, Journal of American History


“Overall, whether in soldier, civilian, or veteran studies, the future direction of the new military history emanates from Weirding the War.”—Matthew E. Stanley, Register of the Kentucky Historical Society


“[Berry’s] manifesto-like introduction calls for new questions, new themes, and new topics that turn upside down what we think we know about the [Civil War]. . . . The animating force behind these essays, and the books that will follow, is to nudge students, buffs, and popular audiences to replace the Civil War’s inspirational story with the darker version.”—Joan Waugh, Journal of Southern History


Weirding the War proves that there are still many questions left to be asked and answered about this popular time in American history. These essays collected by Dr. Stephen Berry expand the boundaries of what historians have looked at, and bring new ideas to the forefront of current Civil War thinking.” —Kristopher Allen, Southern Historian


“[Weirding the War] boasts a lucid introduction by Stephen berry and an equally insightful afterword by the late Michael Fellman. . . . Such scholarship offers real promise to a field that, too often, suffers from an abundance of repetitious topics and stale questions.”—Matthew Stanley, The Register

About the Author

Stephen Berry is associate professor of history at the University of Georgia. He is the author of House of Abraham: Lincoln and the Todds, a Family Divided by War and All That Makes a Man: Love and Ambition in the Civil War South and the editor of Princes of Cotton: Four Diaries of Young Men in the South, 1848-1860 (Georgia).

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Product Details

  • Series: Uncivil Wars
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: University of Georgia Press (October 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0820341274
  • ISBN-13: 978-0820341279
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #449,416 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Rob White on November 1, 2012
Format: Paperback
Stephen Berry and the contributing essayists bring a fresh and much-needed perspective on the often glorified or glossed-over events of the Civil War. Looking past the haze of nostalgia and muted generalization, Weirding the War presents aspects of human behavior during that tumultuous period of history in such a way and with such detail that the reader is often left shocked by the graphic and gritty truth of what transpired in the lives of everyone from Union and Confederate soldiers to freed slaves to the wives of the wounded. Yes, the picture painted is often not a pretty one, but the importance of that picture being complete comes to light as the reader turns the pages and realizes that the Civil War they thought they knew was only a fraction of the truth, a snapshot without complete context. Weirding the War should be essential reading for anyone with even a passing interest in this period in American history.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A. A. Nofi on May 23, 2013
Format: Paperback
A summary of the review on StrategyPage.Com:

'In his introduction to these essays, originally presented at symposium in 2009, Prof. Berry (Georgia), who previously gave us House of Abraham: Lincoln and the Todds, A Family Divided by War, notes that we have heard much about the politics, battles, commanders, and "homesick soldiers and their wives," but "less from soldiers who looted bodies and joyfully blew things up; from men who guiltlessly made money from the war; from madams trafficking in the war's wake; and from African American troops who decided desertion was the better part of valor."

'Each of the essays, by nearly 20 scholars, examines some seemingly trivial subject. So we learn about William Quantrill's adolescent "wife," soldier slang, an historian's encounters with death, hunger in the wartime South, the war's effect on courtship and pre-marital sex, a Kentucky cold snap and its influence on the emancipation of thousands, the origins of the KKK, desertion among black troops, PTSD, and more, even "what if" James A. Whistler had not washed out of West Point. These often give useful insights into the war and its aftermath, and make this book a valuable, informative, and often amusing read.'

For the full review, see StrategyPage.Com
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As the name implies, the book provides a collection of essays that give a rather unusual perspective on the Civil War. Well written and researched, the writers explore the type of questions that might be asked by two drunken frat boys during a history cram. While the topics might be odd, these essays discuss the fringe of war in an engaging manner. Many use their topics to highlight broader impacts to the general population or soldiers, arriving at mainstream topics through the side-door.
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