The acclaimed sweeping history of a nation at war with itself, told here for the first time by the people who lived it.
Bottom-up history at its very best, A People's History of the Civil War "does for the Civil War period what Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States did for the study of American history in general" (Library Journal). Widely praised upon its initial release, it was described as "meticulously researched and persuasively argued" by the Atlanta Journal- Constitution.
Historian David Williams has written the first account of the American Civil War though the eyes of ordinary peoplefoot soldiers, slaves, women, prisoners of war, draft resisters, Native Americans, and others. Richly illustrated with little-known anecdotes and first-hand testimony, this pathbreaking narrative moves beyond presidents and generals to tell a new and powerful story about America's most destructive conflict.
A People's History of the Civil War is "readable social history" which "sheds fascinating light" (Publishers Weekly) on this crucial period. In so doing it recovers the long-overlooked perspectives and forgotten voices of one of the defining chapters of American history. Forty b/w images.
History comes alive through the many voices in David Williams's compelling history of the Civil War period, as he deepens our understanding of a war usually told through military campaigns and generals. Drawing on diaries, letters, journals, newspaper accounts, and official records, Williams shows a range of individuals and groups vying for power and trying to make their voices heard: laborers, landowners, soldiers, slave holders, slaves, freemen and women, merchants, immigrants, preachers, Indians, etc. He highlights key questions from the time, such as whether the armies on both sides were made up of poor people sent to fight a rich man's war, and he shows the participation of many groups--for example women, who organized into cooperatives and demonstrated for the cause. He also covers the lesser-known war in the West and its impact on African Americans and Indians. His study of the common people does not evade the fact that they often fought tenaciously, and sometimes viciously, against each other for very base reasons and motives. But his approach to history shows a theme throughout history first introduced by his colleague Howard Zinn, in his best-selling and influential book A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES: that the story of America, and who built it, lies in the story of the common people, in the best sense of that term.
- United States / Civil War Period (1850-1877)
- September 1, 2006
- September 1, 2006
- David Williams