In the model of twenty-first-century histories like Drew Gilpin Faust's This Republic of Suffering or Maya Jasanoff 's Liberty's Exiles that illuminate the plight of the common man, Marching Home makes almost unbearably personal the rage and regret of Union veterans. Their untold stories are critically relevant today.
- ISBN-13: 9780871407818
- ISBN-10: 0871407817
- Publisher: Liveright Publishing Corporation
- Publish Date: January 2015
- Page Count: 384
- Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.45 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2014-11-10
- Reviewer: Staff
Civilian Americans have always had difficulties acknowledging and dealing with the problems soldiers face in their transition from warriors to veterans, and the Civil War was no exception. As historian Jordan demonstrates in his engrossing debut outing, for the men of the Union Army, the war didn’t end with Appomattox. Picking up at that point, where most studies of the Civil War conclude, Jordan challenges scholars like Gerald F. Linderman who maintain that “Billy Yank” eagerly suppressed his wartime experiences and embraced peacetime. Jordan convincingly shows that from the time of Lee’s surrender, veterans found themselves still bound to the war, struggling with its meaning and trying to make sense of their military service. Even as the majority of the public wanted to put the war aside, former soldiers participated in anniversary events and reunions, subscribed to the growing number of veterans’ newspapers, and joined the veterans’ organization called the Grand Army of the Republic. To preserve and disseminate their memories, veterans wrote and published regimental histories, personal memoirs, and war sketches. They did all this while coping with the consequences of their service: unemployment, alcoholism, and physical injuries and disabilities, including amputated limbs. Jordan’s thoughtful, well-researched book exposes the under-acknowledged realities faced by Civil War veterans—with disturbing echoes in the modern era. Illus. (Jan.)