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Wars within a War: Controversy and Conflict over the American Civil War (Civil War America) 1st Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0807832752
ISBN-10: 0807832758
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Editorial Reviews

Review

A fine addition to the growing number of Civil War studies. Wars within a War features twelve essays by some of the finest scholars of the Civil War era on a variety of topics. . . . [Will] provoke more debate and spur further research. There is something for everyone within this volume.--Military History of the West



Detailed information and new interpretations are found in virtually every entry. . . . The reader can be assured that the research is thorough and the conclusions are balanced in this venture into a conflict that still generates dispute within and beyond the world of scholarship.--The Journal of American History



Provide[s] very thought-provoking insights. . . . Strongly and plausibly argued.--Lection



Provide[s] a different view of the war; one that military history ignores but can expand our horizons.-- James Durney, independent Book Reviewer



The essays . . . are skillfully, often elegantly, composed. . . . Taken together, the pieces succeed in meeting the intent of the volume's editors to suggest 'some of the many forms of conflict that arose among civilians, soldiers, politicians, and military leaders during the war.'--America's Civil War



This collection will inspire scholars to continue asking new and dynamic questions about the Civil War. At the same time, readers will be able to nibble off a historical buffet from the leading men and women who research, think, and write about the Civil War on a daily basis.--Georgia Historical Quarterly



Provide[s] a starting point for anyone interested in how Americans have argued about the prosecution, meaning, and memory of war. This is an excellent book that will leave the reader with something to ponder.--The Lone Star



A sampling of recent scholarship on the Civil War and its memory from some of the most prominent scholars in the field. . . . An excellent reader for the classroom for those who wish to introduce students to the kinds of questions that scholars are entertaining about the war and to the variety of approaches that are used to answer those questions.--Southwestern Historical Quarterly



Like a brisk wind blowing away the dust from the archives and preconceived notions. . . . Remarkable.--The Advocate



Excellent. . . . Points us toward new directions in the study of Civil War memory. . . . This useful collection contains many rich insights into the controversies unleashed by the Civil War.--Journal of Southern History



Provides fresh interpretations. . . . Demonstrates the vitality of Civil War history because conflicts over the war's meaning multiply, rather than diminish, with the passage of time.--Virginia Magazine

Review

The contributors to this stimulating volume demonstrate again the inexhaustible potential for fresh scholarship on the American Civil War. These studies focus on the tensions that divided North against North and South against South during--and long after--the actual fighting. The result is a very good book on the Civil War that also reveals much about American history in general.--Mark A. Noll, author of The Civil War as a Theological Crisis



An invaluable resource for both research and teaching, this dazzling book of essays illustrates, in ways sure to provoke debate and inspire new work, how far modern scholarship has come in integrating the Civil War battlefront and homefront. And it dramatizes that in history and in memory, 'North' and 'South' were not just implacable foes, but unstable and contested political constructs.--Elizabeth R. Varon, Temple University

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 312 pages
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press; 1 edition (June 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807832758
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807832752
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.1 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #644,181 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By David M. Dougherty VINE VOICE on October 10, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This work is a collection of essays over various facets of the American Civil Way and its meaning and impact on Americans. It even included an analysis of how Hollywood has portrayed "The Lost Cause," a subject that is interesting but hardly meaningful except to show how attitudes are shaped through media presentations and propaganda. On the whole I liked this book. Several contributions were quite good, several were interesting but did not really add anything to the body of literature on the Civil War, and one was definitely a non-read -- the one by Cushman on Walt Whitman's views. The reader should be advised that there is little of the actual war in this work, and it more properly falls into the category of social history.

I particularly liked four essays: Stephanie McCurry's on Southern women during the war, their hardships and activitism; Matthew Gallman's on Colored troops and the Battle of Olustee, Florida; Drew Faust's discussion over burying the dead from the war in the following years (particularly recovering bodies of federal troops from the South); and James Marten's depiction of Soldier's Homes after the war. All of these were scholarly and added thoughtful, if peripheral, contributions to Civil War literature.

Other than the overly erudite essay by Cushman that seemed to be written to display the author's command of academese, I was particularly disappointed in the essay by James McPherson, normally one of my favorite authors. His treatise on McClellan (a relative of mine) and his relationship with Lincoln read like it had been quickly dashed off from bits and pieces of his other works to satisfy a publisher's deadline.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Civil War generated a series of military questions that keep us busy almost 150 years after the action occurred. This book is a series of essays not on those military questions but on social issues occurring during and after the war. These essays provide a different view of the war; one that military history ignores but can expand our horizons. Essays on Social History can be written for a select audience and be tedious or impossible to read. This book contains both. Additionally, a number of authors chose to display their ample vocabulary at the expense of readability and sentence construction.
Stephanie McCurry leads off with an excellent look at the war's impact on poor Southern white women. This is what Social History should be as she covers their entry into politics via petitions. Not the easiest read but rewarding and thought provoking.
Gary W. Gallagher looks at Hollywood's depicting the war. An excellent writer, he knows this subject and provides an informative, interesting, readable piece.
Matthew Gallman looks at the USCT regiments at Olustee in a combination of social and military history. This is the direction social history should consider. He has combined looking at the men in these regiments with a good look at one of their major battles.
James Marten looks at the Soldier's Homes in a very strong essay looks a charity as it was not as we see it. Drew Gilpin Faust takes up the question of burying the Union dead and the impact it had on America. These two essays make the reader look at America as it was from 1860 to 1920. Again, this excellent social history is thought provoking and covers subject that military history ignores.
James McPherson contributes little in an essay on Lincoln and McClellan.
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I don't have the time for specifics, but the 5-star rating I give it says it all. JSL
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