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What This Cruel War Was Over: Soldiers, Slavery, and the Civil War Paperback – March 11, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
Manning's book is the beginning of the end for other causal explanations because she relies on the testimonies that should bear the most weight, i.e., the wartime letters home of the men in blue and gray who fought at Gettysburg, Vicksburg, the Wilderness, Cold Harbor, Shiloh and all the other horrific battles of the war.
Her research is pretty amazing and should first be assessed by looking at her list of Primary Sources in the back of the book which is organized by state. She traveled to every state that was involved in the Civil War and roamed through 45 local libraries and historical societies. She went through larger collections like those of Military History Institute of the U.S. Army and the Library of Congress. She read published collections of Civil War letters and innumerable state documents relating to the War.
Her focus was on the enlisted man and on letters actually written during the war rather than memoirs that were written in the postwar years. She gathered biographical data of the various correspondents whose letters she collected and noted their place of origin, their occupation, educational attainments, etc. She then selected 477 Confederate soldiers and 657 Union soldiers to focus on because their collected backgrounds were representative of the armies as a whole.
She also uncovered some 100+ regimental papers (largely published by enlisted men) and used them as well.Read more ›
Living in the South especially, and currently living in Georgia, I've seen the general public inundated with such propaganda that the American Civil War was over "states' rights" and/or "Northern economic interests", etc...
But this book clears up the rhetoric and explains why both sides fought, using extensive research on original soldiers' letters and diaries.
Of special note is that the book is extremely well written, with excellent usage of the English language throughout, as well as focused and logical arguments to support the author's facts.
In summary, this is one of the top 5 books I've read on the American Civil War.
(just a lagniappe...the author - Chandra Manning, a professor at Georgetown University - is originally from Ireland.)
This brilliant, magnificently thorough book is an examination of the thoughts and attitudes of the enlisted soldiers of the Civil War, Union and Confederate, black and white, as represented in their letters, diaries, essays, newsletters, and other writings. Manning investigates their opinions on the causes and purposes of the war and slavery, which are one in the same. She brilliantly delves into how those opinions, thoughts, and attitudes were formed by the differing societies of the North and the South (particularly their religious beliefs, their societal demands, and class and gender roles), how this civil war would form a new definition of the United States.
The Civil War, in four horrific years, absolutely revolutionized thought and society in the United States. Our country fought it's most bloody, most horrific war, not only amongst itself, but due to racism. It is a shocking horror that racism can not only be that entrenched, but that motivating of a force. A force that can cause a Civil War between the ideals of equality and freedom and the personal desires for safety, success, and preservation of loved ones.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Would strongly recommend this book for any historian or person interested in the Civil War. It puts to bed any myth about the Civil War being about states' rights.Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
Somewhere before page 20 I set aside the library book I was reading, went to the computer, and ordered my own copy. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Indiana Reviewer
The South had continually fought to expand slavery. They even had homegrown rascals who would try to overthrow Latin American countries to spread slavery there. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Ryan Costa
What to say about Chandra Manning and her first book, What This Cruel War Was Over. Initial thoughts were this book read as a dressed up research paper, and no surprise why- the... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Maggie
I thought I knew everything about the Civil War, but this gave me a fresh perspective, particularly on the evolving attitudes of the Union soldiers. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Jenrus
Review of the Kindle Edition. Note, this review is not a commentary on the argument of the book or on writing quality. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Bill
If you ever wanted to know why the Civil War got started this book explains it. Sorry southern states, your claim that it was about heritage is wrong. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Michael Peitsinovski