Women's war : fighting and surviving the American Civil War
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- ISBN: 9780674987975
- ISBN: 9780674239920 (e-book)
1 online resource (321 pages)
- Publisher: Cambridge, Massachusetts ; The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2019.
|Bibliography, etc. Note:||Includes bibliographical references and index.|
|Formatted Contents Note:||Enemy women and the laws of war -- The story of the black soldier's wife -- Reconstructing a life amidst the ruins.|
|Summary, etc.:||The Civil War is remembered as a war of brother against brother, with women standing innocently on the sidelines. But battlefield realities soon challenged this simplistic understanding of women's place in war. Stephanie McCurry shows that women were indispensable to the unfolding of the Civil War, as they have been--and continue to be--in all wars. With a trio of dramatic stories, McCurry explores unique facets of women's wartime experiences, each one of which played an important part in redefining the meaning and stakes of the Civil War. Clara Judd, a female spy who was imprisoned by the Union for treason, sparked a heated controversy over the principle of civilian immunity, leading to lasting changes in the international laws of war. The hundreds of thousands of enslaved women who escaped to Union lines during the conflict upended military emancipation policies aimed only at enslaved male soldiers. Union leaders responded by casting fugitive black women as "soldiers' wives," offering them a protection of sorts but placing a lasting obstacle on their path to freedom. In the war's aftermath, the former Confederate Gertrude Thomas wrestled with her loss of status amid economic devastation, social collapse, and the new freedom of her former slaves. War and emancipation touched even her intimate family, revealing the full extent of the break in history Reconstruction represented.-- Provided by publisher.|
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Women's War : Fighting and Surviving the American Civil War
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Felicitous and deeply researched, this book will be a classic. Brevity obscures its importance. An opening summary of (men's) creation of international rules of war that forbade attacks on women and children subordinated them. Worse, it left them defenseless and open to illegal attacks. Further discussion treats Northern and Southern (including black's) women's roles in the Civil War. Women on opposing sides sewed uniforms, collected supplies, and at times spied, and enslaved mothers risked all to escape and rescue their children. Federal officers subjected freed persons to current mores, forcing them to marry and form (previously unlawful) families. Conclusions depict a South whose loss of capital in slaves, with other developments, allowed a new commercial and bourgeois elite and middle class to replace the old Southern agrarian, planter-dominated order. Lacking credit, middling to poor white farmers fell into sharecropping. Freed blacks by 1877 had lost any political power held during Reconstruction and became a permanent underclass. At every turn males dominated females. Fine notes, bibliography, illustrations, and appendixes. Summing Up: Essential. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. --Douglas W Steeples, emeritus, Mercer University