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African American Faces of the Civil War: An Album Hardcover – August 20, 2012
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In the course of collecting photographs for Faces of the Civil War (2004) and Faces of the Confederacy (2008), Coddington constantly ran across images of black soldiers who fought for their freedom in the Civil War. In this book, he presents 77 images and the stories behind them. The subjects are mostly Union soldiers, with their poses ranging from formal to casual as they faced their chance to prove themselves at a time when confusion reigned regarding their status as citizens. With each portrait, Coddington offers a brief profile, including regimental history and campaigns and battles as well as family history and lives after the war. Among the subjects are Martin Delaney, an “ardent black nationalist” who wrote a novel that countered the docile images of slaves in Uncle Tom’s Cabin; Robert Smalls, who commandeered an armed Confederate vessel and surrendered it to the Union in Charleston, South Carolina; and Allen Walkup, later Allen King, who served as a stand-in for Mark Twain’s cousin. An engaging look at a neglected part of the history of the American Civil War. --Vanessa Bush
"Coddington's use of African American-owned newspapers and pension records is groundbreaking. It does nothing to diminish the depth and precision of Coddington's research to say that each compelling vignette prompts the reader to hurriedly flip to the next one."(Publishers Weekly (starred review))
"An engaging look at a neglected part of the history of the American Civil War."(Vanessa Bush Booklist)
"African American Faces of the Civil War: An Album serves us well to remind us of those who came before and honor them."(Sara Rosen Le Journal de la Photographie)
"With the plethora of Civil War books that focus on battles, regiments, and the famous, this volume's subject matter and format are a welcome counterpoint."(Library Journal)
"A stunning album of 77 portrait photographs–cartes de visite, ambrotypes and tintypes... African American Faces of the Civil War provides a unique visual record, quite literally documenting the faces of war at a transitional moment in U.S. history. Lincoln’s black warriors helped to overthrow slavery and to restore the Union. Their descendants spent the next century fighting new battles for true equality."(John David Smith Charlotte Observer)
"Coddington's thoughtfully crafted and cogently written study, replete with an insightful foreword by J. Matthew Gallman on the African-American experience, will appeal to readers interested in the efforts of African Americans and the war's larger military, social and global consequences."(Jonathan A. Noyalas Civil War News)
"Coddington highlights the bravery of African American soldiers at a time when many considered them to be cowards, and shows the Civil War from the perspective of African Americans fighting for freedom, dignity, respect, and equality."(Choice)
"A fascinating work that captures the soldiers at a moment when they proudly served a country that was only just then beginning to reassess their citizenship rights. Because they risked everything to fight for emancipation and the Union, the Civil War’s African-American soldiers deserve to never be forgotten. Coddington’s work will help to ensure that that no one will ever need to be reminded that 'there were men of color who... fought.'"(Glenn David Brasher Civil War Monitor)
"The sesquicentennial observance of the Civil War era will be marked by numerous publications of works. Few book will be as fascinating and informative as African American Faces of the Civil War... This third book on soldiers in the Civil War, African American Faces of the Civil War, is a well-documented and a valuable work, It is an outstanding contribution to the scholarship on the Civil War and African American History in general."(Civil War Book Review)
"African American Faces of the Civil War, like the photographs it presents, captures the moment when black men in America transitioned from slaves to soldiers and the Civil War became about more than merely preserving the Union. Unlike any single photograph, however, Coddington's book depicts this moment from a diverse variety of perspectives"(Kelly Erby Kansas History)
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at the individual African American soldier who fought
to save the Union and free his people.Read more