Embattled Courage: The Experience of Combat in the American Civil War

Gerald Linderman, Author Free Press $24.95 (357p) ISBN 978-0-02-919760-8
Linderman, history professor at the University of Michigan, describes the unreasonably high standards of morality prevalent in the nation at the start of the Civil War, citing for example a letter from General Custer assuring his wife that he has ""not uttered a single oath, nor blasphemed, even in thought.'' According to Linderman, it was assumed on both sides that ``the application of the moral values to the struggle would determine both the forms and the result of the war.'' By 1865 those soldiers who survived had learned otherwise. In this deep inquiry into the nature of courage (and cowardice) as defined by soldiers and civilians North and South, the author traces the breakdown of traditional values, the changing behavior of the soldiers and the ``reconceptualization'' of the war by veterans in their later years. Drawing on letters and memoirs, he reveals the common tendency of soldiers who became disillusioned during the fighting to experience an amazing reversion in postwar years to the blind idealism with which they originally went to war. Ironically, notes Linderman, the soldiers who went into the Spanish-American War carried the same values as those of 1861. (April)
Reviewed on: 05/01/1987
Release date: 05/01/1987
Open Ebook - 368 pages - 978-1-4391-1857-3
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