A revealing compilation of essays documenting the effects of the Civil War and its aftermath on Americans—young and old, black and white, northern and southern.
The American Civil War was truly a "people's war," where neighbor fought neighbor and brother fought brother. Families and friends were as painfully divided as North and South. What impact did the bloodiest and mostly costly war in American history have on civilians and their assumptions about race, government, and freedom?
Civil War America: Voices from the Homefront describes the myriad ways in which the Civil War affected both Northern and Southern civilians. A unique collection of essays that include diary entries, memoirs, letters, and magazine articles chronicle the personal experiences of soldiers and slaves, parents and children, nurses, veterans, and writers.
Exploring such wide-ranging topics as sanitary fairs in the North, illustrated weeklies, children playing soldier, and the care of postwar orphans, most stories communicate some element of change, such as the destruction of old racial relationships, the challenge to Southern whites' complacency, and the expansion of government power. Although some of the subjects are well known—Edmund Ruffin, Louisa May Alcott, Henry Cabot Lodge, Booker T. Washington—most of the witnesses presented in these essays are relatively unknown men, women, and children who help to broaden our understanding of the war and its effects far beyond the front lines.
• 26 essays on varied topics such as the impact of the war on children, as seen in Oliver Optic's Civil War: Northern Children and the Literary War for the Union, and the aftermath of the war, chronicled in The Devil's War: The Stories of Ambrose Bierce
• A wide range of primary source documents including book excerpts, diaries, personal letters, newspaper articles, and magazine articles
• Drawings, etchings, and photographs depicting battles, soldiers, and the families left behind
• A selected bibliography and general works offering information and analysis about the Confederate and Union home fronts during the Civil War
• Focuses on the war as an agent of change in terms of centralization, unification, race, and industrialization
• Studies the legacies and recollections of the war that shaped American culture for generations