- Hardcover: 384 pages
- Publisher: Liveright; 1 edition (January 26, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0871407817
- ISBN-13: 978-0871407818
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.4 x 9.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #198,096 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Marching Home: Union Veterans and Their Unending Civil War 1st Edition
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
“Exhaustively researched…. Mr. Jordan, a lecturer at Gettysburg College, has uncovered a rich trove of journals, letters and published accounts revealing the enormous toll that the Civil War took on its participants…. Books like [Marching Home] contribute to a much broader cultural narrative.” (Randall Fuller - Wall Street Journal)
“Using evidence from diaries, letters, pension records, regimental histories and other sources, [Jordan] constructs a far darker narrative of veterans profoundly and permanently alienated from a civilian public that neither understood nor properly acknowledged their wartime sacrifice… Marching Home also brings into sharp relief the gulf―present in every war―that developed between soldiers and people on the home front who did not experience, and thus could not grasp, the reality of military service… Readers will find in Marching Home a powerful exploration of how some Union veterans made the transition from military service to civilian life.” (Gary W. Gallagher - Washington Post)
“Readers of this clearly written and exhaustively researched book will come away with a deeper appreciation of the sacrifices soldiers make; many living veterans will thank Jordan for his attention to an often neglected but important aspect of U.S. military history.” (Walter Russell Mead - Foreign Affairs)
“[Marching Home] provides us with yet another cautionary tale from the Civil War―that the pain of war endures long after the stacking of arms or the signing of an armistice. A fact that those who clamor for U.S. military intervention in every conflict too often forget.” (Frank Reeves - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
“As historian Jordan demonstrates in his engrossing debut outing, for the men of the Union Army, the war didn’t end at Appomattox… Jordan’s thoughtful, well-researched book exposes the under-acknowledged realities faced by Civil War veterans―with disturbing echoes in the modern era.” (Publishers Weekly)
“An eloquent elegy to the “Boys in Blue,” Jordan’s Marching Home follows the Union Army veteran from armistice through the enduring psychic and political civil war that came after. Sensitively written and impeccably researched, Jordan’s inspiring debut animates the struggles of countless “Billy Yanks” to secure recognition, compensation, and basic human dignity until the death of the last survivor in 1956. It will stand as an important contribution to the history of the American veteran.” (Allegra di Bonaventura, author of For Adam’s Sake: A Family Saga in Colonial New England)
“Billy Yank’s Civil War did not end with Appomattox. Rather, as Brian Matthew Jordan shows in his literate, beautifully crafted book, the homeward journey of the Union soldier was a long and bitter one. Racked by painful recollections of the battlefield, unprepared for the ways of civilian life, and greeted with suspicion wherever they went, the shell-shocked veterans lived out their lives unable to let go of the memories of a war that their neighbors seemed determined to forget. Framed as a Homeric odyssey, Jordan’s tale of the Union soldier combines unflinching honesty with generous humanity.” (James Oakes, author of Freedom National: The Destruction of Slavery in the United States, 1861 - 1865)
“[A] wonderful antidote for the fog of romanticism that clouds the public’s memory of the Civil War…. Jordan’s book is an important contribution to the scholarship of the life of Union soldiers after the war. It is honest and cynical, poetic and disturbing. Here is a brutal reminder of the realities of war and life after war. As we cope today with the many former soldiers of modern wars and their struggles against Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other maladies, it is good to be reminded―as Lincoln did in 1864―that we have an obligation to ‘bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.” (Emerging Civil War)
About the Author
Brian Matthew Jordan is an assistant professor of history at Sam Houston State University, where he teaches courses on the Civil War and Reconstruction, and is the winner of Yale University’s John Addison Porter Prize.
Top Customer Reviews
There is a massive literature on the American Iliad but a much smaller literature on the American Odyssey. Jordan has done an epic job in uncovering little used source material to let the soldiers speak for themselves. Jordan challenges the view held by some that the Union veterans somehow "hibernated" after the Civil War until, in the 1880s and 1890s, the efforts and remembrance, reconciliation, the establishment of Parks, and the like began. His book describes the activities of the veterans beginning with Appomattox. Jordan argues that many veterans were angry with the defeated rebels and physically and emotionally broken in the aftermath of the War. He also claims that the veterans largely opposed the policy of reconciliation that developed with the defeated South and the ignoring of the rights of the Freedpeople. Here are two examples. Jordan writes of a parade of veterans in New York City in August, 1865, seeking employment:
"GIVE US EMPLOYMENT TO SUPPORT OUR FAMILIES
We represent thousands of discharged soldiers and
sailors now asking for bread
Our last employers were Grant, Sherman
Sheridan, Meade, Hancock, and Hooker
WE ARE NOW THE SOLDIER CITIZENS.Read more ›
In this book the author analyzed what problems that Union soldiers encountered as they left their military life and tried to reintegrate into civilian life. Many had great difficulties in changing: many amputees lacked arms or legs to do most civilian jobs back then that required at least the use of two hands -- many Northerners didn't want to hire the handicapped; Unionists developed job-help newspapers in offering work for the disabled.
Many Union soldiers suffered from what we now recognize as "PTSD": post-(combat) stress disorder: soldiers who were mentally scared by their battlefield experiences of seeing their comrades horribly killed or wounded during battle; and those who couldn't leave the "comfort zone" of their battlefield-military lifestyle to engage in mundane civilian work again.
To drown out their PTSD problems, many soldiers turned to "the bottle" for solace -- alcoholism shielded them from copping with reality -- the reality that many Northern civilians refrained from hiring ex-soldiers because of the wide-spread civilian attitude that ex-soldiers should not be hired because many newspaper articles detailed stories of soldiers as drunks (pp. 50-55).
Also, with the war's end, many defense-industries began laying off workers as their supply contracts ended: too many 25-year-old males looking for jobs, and wages were driven down (p. 56) -- a serious problem for ex-soldiers who had a family to support.Read more ›
Jordan has gone back and researched how Northern (Union) veterans were treated after the Civil War. Sadly, they weren’t treated very well, much like those who fought in the Revolution, War of 1812 and Mexican Wars. Jordan divides the discussion into sections about wounded/disabled, amputees, and the mentally affected; and the fight over bonuses and pensions.
There were multiple organizations formed by veterans after the CV but the largest of them all was the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR). The GAR was large enough to lobby in Washington on behalf of the Veterans, but complained constantly of being ignored. Though he doesn’t discuss the Grant Administration per se, he does discuss the difference between the Cleveland (where they were treated poorly) and Hayes (where they were treated like the heroes they were). Jordan makes the point that Cleveland paid someone to take his place while Hayes was a Lieutenant Colonel of Ohio Volunteers.
Like many returning soldiers from earlier wars, they were feted for a while and then people wanted to forget the war, heal the Union and move on. It got to the point where people would ignore the pleas of indigent veteran families (think of it as charity fatigue), saying they were asking too much for too long. Unlike today, charity was a private affair, people were expected to take care of themselves or go to the poor house.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Brian Matthew Jordan’s new book addresses an issue that others have either missed or been mistaken about: the poor treatment of Union soldiers upon coming home. Read morePublished 14 days ago by David George Moore
This is a very special book. The foundation is the author’s command of archival resources, giving access to veins of material on veterans and their families and on the communities... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Gary T. Johnson
Well, at least we're consistent when it comes to treating veterans after a war is over. It's not a good thing. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Franklin the Mouse
Stopped at page 103. Tired of the condescending tone and snide, snarky comments. Page 100: veterans placing monuments to honor their dead friends is
characterized by young... Read more
Very well written. i love all the detailed descriptions and research put into this book.Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
As a long time member of The Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, I was anxious to read this book. Read morePublished 4 months ago by W. G. Todd
I briefly met the author at last year's Annual meeting of the Society of Military History in Ottawa, CN. The next week it came out on the Pulitzer Finalist list. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Benjamin F. Jones
This is an outstanding account of a little understood but crucially important aspect of the Civil War.Published 7 months ago by Jeffrey Kelley