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Midnight in America: Darkness, Sleep, and Dreams during the Civil War (Civil War America) Hardcover – March 20, 2017

5.0 out of 5 stars 4 ratings

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Editorial Reviews


Refreshingly precise. . . . The book opens a new conversation and expands the historical imagination of the Civil War era. Some nightmares may have reflected trauma, but dreams also helped participants survive the anxieties of war and make meaning out of personal and national trauma. Few books are as original or inspiring.--Ohio Valley History

A wonderful window into the inner lives of Americans--soldier and civilian, white and black, men and women--during the Civil War Era.--Journal of the Civil War Era

The quoted letters create a sense of intimacy with wartime lives that is eerie and intense, at times rivaling the highest achievements of art.--Pacific Standard

Well illustrated throughout and deeply researched, Midnight in America brings that world much closer to our own.--North Carolina Historical Review

A wide-ranging and fascinating study. . . . Reminds us of the haunting effects war can (and does) have on its participants long after the fighting ends.--Lesley J. Gordon, Civil War Monitor

Midnight in America is a clear-sighted testament to the ways in which soldiers and loved ones at home alike willed themselves to "visit" in dreams, saw prophetic possibilities, and generally coped with psychological trauma.--The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

White's prodigious research, conveyed in clear, coherent prose, spotlights an underutilized resource for historians and enthusiasts to use in understanding the personal impact of the war and its effect on postwar lives.--America's Civil War

Midnight in America takes a unique look at a rather pedestrian part of human existence—sleep and dreams—and how the experience of war and separation from loved ones often revealed underlying anxieties, fears, and hopes through individual dreams. Mining an astonishing amount of primary source material, White brings us closer . . . to the common soldier, often right into the private exchanges between spouses sharing their most tender dreams of the other.--The History Shelf

A testament to the continuing value of American studies.--The Journal of American History

White is in the vanguard of young historians whose work brings a different, but vitally significant view of activities and events surrounding the Civil War.--Daily Press


Highly original, exhaustively researched, and compellingly written, Midnight in America makes a fresh and vital contribution to the essential Civil War literature. This is literally a dream of a book. And Jonathan W. White is one of the very best young historians in the field.--Harold Holzer, winner of the 2015 Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize

In a winning combination of marvelous research and creative analysis, Jonathan White examines how Civil War Americans experienced, thought about, and shared their dreams. Thick with clever arguments about war and society, Midnight in America illustrates how we might learn from the murky world of sleep and dreams and wartime.--J. Matthew Gallman, author of Defining Duty in the Civil War

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