View single post by CleburneFan
 Posted: Tue Mar 18th, 2008 01:54 am
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CleburneFan
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At the risk of sounding "excessively fawning", I just finished the book yesterday and did not find that it has either excess verbiage or fancy words that require frequent checks of the dictionary. I had actually expected both from the President of Harvard University, but was pleasantly surprised at how well she handled a very difficult subject.

In fact, death not only is a difficult subject to write about, it is a difficult subject to read about. When I think of the exhaustive research Faust must have had to have done on all the facets of death in pre- and post- Civil War and during the war itself, I don't know how she managed to study death for such a long period of time. In truth, I felt quite depressed reading parts of this book.

What I take away from Faust's book is how death in massive numbers impacted every part of American life in the war, but the South suffered the most because so much of the war was fought on Southern soil. Not only did Southerners have to cope with burying and identifying their own dead, they were often tasked with the onerous and thoroughly burdensome challenge of burying enemy dead, often men they hated and blamed for all the suffering the Confederacy was experiencing.

Maybe the book has not been a financial blockbuster or best seller, but I wouldn't say it wasn't successful. For scholars of the sociology and culture of those times, this book adds  important new material for consideration. It also definitely puts battles and war into a different perspective. Once the "glory" of a battle is over, one is left with the battlefield littered with dead and wounded men and animals. (Over a million horses and mules died in the Civil War!) What happened to the war dead had tremendous cultural implications for those times that remain with us still today. 

 

Last edited on Tue Mar 18th, 2008 01:57 am by CleburneFan

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