A People's History of the Civil War

A People's History of the Civil War

Struggles for the Meaning of Freedom

Book - 2005
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Moving beyond Presidents and generals, A People's History of the Civil War tells a new and powerful story of America's most destructive conflict. In the first book to view the civil war through the eyes of common people, historian David Williams presents long- overlooked perspectives and forgotten voices offering a comprehensive account of the war to general readers. The Civil War's most destructive battles, Williams argues, took place not only on the fields of Gettysburg, Antiesham, and Vicksburg, but also on the streets of New York, in prison camps, in the West, an on the starving home front. Labouring people, urban and rural, fought for economic justice. Women struggled for rights and opportunities and for their family's survival. Volunteers and conscripts demanded respect. Native Americans made the Civil War a war for freedom long before Lincoln embraced emancipation. Bottom up history at its very best. A People's History of the Civil War offers a rich and complex portrait of a nation at war with itself.
Publisher: New York : New Press : Distributed by W.W. Norton & Co., 2005.
ISBN: 9781595580184
1595580182
Call Number: 973.7 WILLIAMS
Characteristics: p. ; cm.
Subjects: United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Personal narratives.
United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865.
United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Social aspects.

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f
floy
Jul 04, 2011

This book is so important. The history I (and most likely you) learned in high school was not the truth. It was not the truth.
The author conducted prodigious research to support his theme of the important role regular people played in the Civil War. Unbeknownst to most of us today, there was great opposition to the war in both the North and the South. The war was fought for wealthy people (slaveowners in the South, industrialists in the North) and the little people figured that out. They declined to serve, or deserted, in the hundreds of thousands on both sides.
This well-written book is also unique in that it covers the impact of the Civil War on the families of soldiers, Native Americans, workers, and women. The Civil War years were horrific - starvation and deadly violence all around - except for the rich who mostly got richer.
Disillusionment is going to happen to any reader of this book and so it should be. Lincoln was not as wonderful as we would like to think he was, the torture and near genocide perpetuated by the federal government against Indian tribes is so utterly callous and morally bankrupt that you can hardly bear to read the words, and if you didn't know it before, you know it now, that the wealthy have run this country from the beginning.
This is an important book. If you ever took a class in American history, you owe it to yourself to set the facts right by reading this book.

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