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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. Chapters look at topics such as civilians in invaded and occupied areas, immigrants in battle and on the home front, and the urban Civil War, and each chapter contains two biographical sidebars that personalize the experiences discussed. A section of about 30 pages of one- to two-page excerpts from letters, diaries, news reports, and other primary sources offers further insight into the lives of everyday Americans. A glossary of terms, key figures and events, and concepts is included. Historical b&w photos are also included. Topics in the series are selected to fit curricular standards for both high school history classes and undergraduate American history courses. An emphasis on social history brings historical analysis into the classroom while still focusing on topics that will engage students.
The Civilian War explores home front encounters between elite Confederate women and Union soldiers during Sherman's March, a campaign that put women at the center of a Union army operation for the first time. Ordered to crush the morale as well as the military infrastructure of the Confederacy, Sherman and his army increasingly targeted wealthy civilians in their progress through Georgia and the Carolinas. To drive home the full extent of northern domination over the South, Sherman's soldiers besieged the female domain-going into bedrooms and parlors, seizing correspondence and personal treasures-with the aim of insulting and humiliating upper-class southern women. These efforts blurred the distinction between home front and warfront, creating confrontations in the domestic sphere as a part of the war itself. Historian Lisa Tendrich Frank argues that ideas about women and their roles in war shaped the expectations of both Union soldiers and Confederate civilians. Sherman recognized that slaveholding Confederate women played a vital part in sustaining the Rebel efforts, and accordingly he treated them as wartime opponents, targeting their markers of respectability and privilege. Although Sherman intended his efforts to demoralize the civilian population, Frank suggests that his strategies frequently had the opposite effect. Confederate women accepted the plunder of food and munitions as an inevitable part of the conflict, but they considered Union invasion of their private spaces an unforgivable and unreasonable transgression. These intrusions strengthened the resolve of many southern women to continue the fight against the Union and its most despised general. Seamlessly merging gender studies and military history, The Civilian War illuminates the distinction between the damage inflicted on the battlefield and the offenses that occurred in the domestic realm during the Civil War. Ultimately, Frank's research demonstrates why many women in the Lower South remained steadfastly committed to the Confederate cause even when their prospects seemed most dim.
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