The volume that follows offers a nuanced look at the experiences of the Civil War, an alternative to the top-down focus on elite white men and their policies. The lives, experiences, and perspectives of ordinary Americans are highlighted in Civil War: People and Perspectives through nine essays, a chronology, a glossary of basic Civil War terms, events, and people, as well as a collection of primary sources. The essays, all on various overlapping, but distinct themes, form the crux of the volume and allow readers insight into the lives of those people who lived the American Civil War. Essays examine in depth soldiers, civilians, women, children, immigrants, African Americans, Native Americans, members of religious minorities, and urbanites. Taken together, these essays reveal myriad interwoven experiences— a rich tapestry of experiences that combine to define the Civil War.
In Chapter 1, '''A Soldier's Life Is a Hard One at Best': Soldiers in the American Civil War,'' John M. Sacher examines the complex and wideranging motivations and experiences of Confederate and Union soldiers. Although many rushed to enlist at the outset of the war, they were not prepared for the realities of camp life during wartime. Additionally, as the war lengthened and the war aims expanded, soldiers on both sides had to adapt to new conditions and motivations. In Chapter 2, ''When the Home Front Became a Battlefront: Civilians in Invaded and Occupied Areas,'' Antoinette G. van Zelm explores life for noncombatants. Civilians who came into contact with enemy soldiers all found their lives changed, but the types of changes invasion brought often depended upon a civilian's race, gender, and class. Whether facing military regiments or guerilla bands, civilians braced for hardships and danger. Lisa Tendrich Frank highlights the female experience in Chapter 3, ''War on Two Fronts: Women during the Civil War.'' Frank explores how women both shaped and were shaped by the Civil War and wartime realities. Women did not, as traditional histories assume, stand on the sidelines for the war, but rather they played active roles as supporters, detractors, nurses, spies, soldiers, and workers. Karen A. Kehoe explores another marginalized group in Civil War studies in Chapter 4, ''Children and the Civil War.'' The war not only affected children's circumstances at home, but also changed children's ways of playing as well as their schooling. In addition, Kehoe discusses children's roles in the conflict, which included making socks for the soldiers, raising money for the troops, and even participating in regiments as musicians. In Chapter 5, Fiona Deans Halloran highlights the experiences and contributions of immigrants to the war effort. ''Patriotism, Preparation, and Reputation: Immigrants in Battle and on the Home Front in the American Civil War'' examines the varying participation of immigrants in the Union and Confederacy. Although immigrants held leadership positions in the military, served as soldiers, nursed the wounded, and raised money for the troops, they were not immune from Nativist attitudes and often experienced discrimination. African Americans also dealt with discrimination and violence. Their wartime experiences and struggles are examined in Julie Hol-comb's ''From Enslaved to Liberators: African Americans and the Civil
War.'' In Chapter 6, Holcomb discusses how African Americans, North and South, made the war their own and how they affected its outcome. They pushed for emancipation, forced the hands of Union politicians and officers, and helped make the war into one over slavery. In Chapter 7, ''The Long-house Divided: Native Americans during the American Civil War,'' Andrew K. Frank demonstrates how Native Americans used the upheaval of civil war to their advantage. Although divided by loyalty and experiences, most Indians attempted to use the war to pursue tribal and personal ambitions. They settled old scores, pursued financial opportunities, and reshaped their relationship with federal and state governments while often participating in the Union or Confederate war efforts. Members of religious minorities lived on the outskirts of life, but still made the war their own, too. In Chapter 8, ''Becoming American: Catholics, Jews, and Mormons during the American Civil War,'' Sarah K. Nytroe examines the wartime roles played by members of these groups as they tried to prove their loyalty to their nation in the face of society's questions about their commitment. Their perceived cultural differences did not prevent them from supporting, or opposing, their region's war efforts. Many fought in the Civil War armies, served as home front nurses, held government posts, and otherwise worked for the war. As Clinton Terry shows in Chapter 9, ''The Urban Civil War,'' despite the nation's predominantly rural character, urban centers and their residents played pivotal roles in the Civil War. In addition to being the settings for draft and bread riots, cities in the North and South became places to rally troops and support, hiding places as well as gathering centers for spies, supply centers for the soldiers on the field, and shelters for refugees. This final chapter details the life experienced by many in the urban centers of the Confederacy and the Union.
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