Civil War

People and Perspectives

by Lisa Tendrich Frank, Editor


The Civil War claimed more American lives than the Revolutionary War, World Wars I and II, the War of 1812, and the Vietnam War combined. It involved many different groups of citizens, including women, who dressed as men in order to fight, and Native Americans, some of whom fought their own civil wars at the same time. Their unique perspectives all played a role in shaping a nation struggling to define itself.

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Cover image for Civil War

July 2009


Pages 237
Volumes 1
Size 7x10
Topics American History/Conflict

This volume offers a social historian's view of the Civil War, shifting the focus away from political and military leaders to look at how the war affected, and was affected by, ordinary citizens of all kinds.

Civil War: People and Perspectives looks at one of the most convulsive events in American history through the eyes of ordinary citizens, examining issues related to the home front and war front across the full spectrum of racial, class, and gender boundaries.

Moving away from the traditional focus on famous political and military figures, this insightful volume recounts the experiences of soldiers, women and children, slaves and freed persons, Native Americans, immigrants, and other social groups during a time of extraordinary national upheaval. It is a revealing look at how the lives of everyday people—Northern and Southern, black and white, rich and poor, male and female, enslaved and free—shaped and were shaped by the American Civil War.


  • Primary source documents provide firsthand accounts of what life was like away from the spotlight of history during the Civil War
  • Each essay contains two biographical sidebars that personalize the experiences discussed in the chapter


  • Presents modern historical scholarship in an accessible and engaging manner
  • Looks at the lives of a wide range of participants to give students and general readers a multifaceted portrait of Civil War America in a single volume
  • Includes contributions from highly accomplished social historians specializing in the Civil War era
Author Info

Lisa Tendrich Frank, PhD, is an independent scholar living in Tallahassee, FL. She is the author of several articles on the Confederate home front and is editor of Women in the American Civil War.



"[R]ecommended as a nice adjunct."—ARBAonline

"This compilation of well-written essays on the social history of the American Civil War by Frank . . . is a new installment in ABC-CLIO's 'Perspectives in American Social History' series. . . . Students who use this book will come away with a better understanding of how one of the major events in U.S. history brought about many changes to the lives of citizens throughout the country. . . . This well-rounded book would be a nice addition to a school media center, two-year college, or public library collection."—Library Journal

"Presenting modern historical scholarship in an accessible and engaging manner, this reference for students and general readers offers a social historian’s view of the Civil War, shifting the focus away from political and military leaders to look at how the war affected, and was affected by, ordinary citizens across the spectrum of racial, class, and gender boundaries. . . . An emphasis on social history brings historical analysis into the classroom while still focusing on topics that will engage students." —Reference & Research Book News

Reviewed with Great Depression: People and Perspectives

"Rather than highlighting politics or battles, these titles focus on how individuals and groups–including women, youth, African Americans, Native Americans, and various religious minorities–fared and were shaped by events during significant periods in American history. In addition to the attention to diverse groups, chapters in Great Depression explore the myriad problems faced in urban areas versus the countryside, and the impact of both technology and Hollywood movies during the 1930s. Civil War includes essays on soldiers, civilians, immigrants, and cities. Chapters in each volume are well researched, well documented, and individually authored. Informative sidebars will pique readers’ interest in lesser-known personalities, while the substantial number of primary sources appended to each volume will allow advanced researchers the opportunity to explore topics in more depth."—School Library Journal

"Lower-level undergraduates and general readers."—Choice

"Recommended."—Library Media Connection

Look Inside

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