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Tom Taylor's Civil War Hardcover – November 20, 2000
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"Ordinary" soldiers such as Sam Watkins and Elijah Hunt Rhodes have given us accounts of their Civil War experiences. Of course, we have a plethora of journals and memoirs by high-ranking officers, from James Longstreet to U. S. Grant. Here, we have an unusual and often fascinating collection of letters and journal entries from a well-educated, eloquent attorney who served as a junior officer in some of the most critical campaigns of the war. At the age of 24, Taylor left his Ohio law practice and his wife and two young children to enlist in the Union army. He fought in the Vicksburg campaign and in Sherman's "march to the sea" through Georgia. Castel, an eminent Civil War historian, has combined excerpts from Taylor's letters and journal with his own commentaries. The result is an absorbing and emotionally wrenching glimpse at the toll taken on an intelligent, sensitive man by the strains of combat and separation from his family. Castel's comments are never intrusive and clarify some of the murkier military details. Jay Freeman
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"Castel’s innovative and eminently readable presentation should delight general readers and scholars alike."—William C. Davis, author of The Cause Lost: Myths and Realities of the Confederacy "The long excerpts from Taylor’s diary and correspondence with his wife include a great deal of valuable material on campaigns and battles, illuminate Taylor's shifting attitudes and opinions about the war and politics, and reveal the ways in which the war placed stress on the Taylors’ marriage. The book also contains excellent descriptive passages about famous figures—among them Lincoln and Sherman—and about the southern country-side and the war’s impact on it and Confederate civilians."—Gary W. Gallagher, author of The Confederate War
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