This Republic of Suffering by Drew Gilpin Faust: | frikilife.com: BooksThe more knowledgeable can no doubt cite the raw number of , dead, the words of Confederate General Robert E. Drew Faust, a leading Civil War historian and the president of Harvard University since , does something much more significant in This Republic of Suffering. She analyzes how the war challenged prevailing assumptions surrounding death and dying, and how soldiers, their families and the nation struggled to come to terms with the changing conditions wrought by war. Faust does an excellent job detailing the logistical challenges faced by both the U. At the same time, historians may conclude that Faust has gone too far in this regard and has ignored the extent to which soldiers on both sides viewed their service and potential sacrifice along ideological lines. Indeed, apart from her analysis of black Union soldiers, Faust has little to say about the significance of slavery for white Union and Confederate soldiers as a motivating factor and justification for war. This Republic of Suffering has received a great deal of attention, which it clearly deserves.
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American History Book Review: This Republic of Suffering
More than , soldiers lost their lives in the American Civil War. An equivalent proportion of today's population would be six million. In This Republic of Suffering , Drew Gilpin Faust reveals the ways that death on such a scale changed not only individual lives but the life of the nation, describing how the survivors managed on a practical level and how a deeply religious culture struggled to reconcile the unprecedented carnage with its belief in a benevolent God. Throughout, the voices of soldiers and their families, of statesmen, generals, preachers, poets, surgeons, nurses, northerners and southerners come together to give us a vivid understanding of the Civil War's most fundamental and widely shared reality. An extremely grim, if absorbing, book.
Look Inside. Jan 06, ISBN Jan 08, ISBN More than , soldiers lost their lives in the American Civil War. In This Republic of Suffering , Drew Gilpin Faust reveals the ways that death on such a scale changed not only individual lives but the life of the nation, describing how the survivors managed on a practical level and how a deeply religious culture struggled to reconcile the unprecedented carnage with its belief in a benevolent God.
During the Civil War, my great-great-grandfather, a Presbyterian clergyman, served as chaplain to the th New York Infantry Regiment. He was a man of stern moral conviction and in weekly letters to his parishioners back home allowed little to escape his censorious eye. Little wonder.
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This book is not a military history of the war in any sense. Names of major battles are indeed dropped constantly, but that is not the focus. This book is all about death and how Americans dealt with it during this period. The book is divided up by theme, which works very well. Faust also does a good job of linking these themes, so you do get a sense of how everything ties together. Americans had a very strong sense of what was to be expected prior to death that the war largely interrupted.