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The Slaves' War: The Civil War in the Words of Former Slavesby Andrew Ward
Synopses & Reviews
The first narrative history of the Civil War told by the very people it freed.
Groundbreaking, compelling, and poignant, The Slaves' War delivers an unprecedented vision of the nation's bloodiest conflict. An acclaimed historian of nineteenth-century and African-American history, Andrew Ward gives us the first narrative of the Civil War told from the perspective of those whose destiny it decided. Woven together from hundreds of interviews, diaries, letters, and memoirs, here is the Civil War as seen from not only battlefields, capitals, and camps, but also slave quarters, kitchens, roadsides, farms, towns, and swamps. Speaking in a quintessentially American language of wit, candor, and biblical power, army cooks and launderers, runaways, teamsters, and gravediggers bring the war to vivid life.
From slaves' theories about the causes of the war to their frank assessments of such major figures as Lincoln, Davis, Lee, and Grant; from their searing memories of the carnage of battle to their often startling attitudes toward masters and liberators alike; and from their initial jubilation at the Yankee invasion of the slave South to the crushing disappointment of freedom's promise unfulfilled, The Slaves' War is a transformative and engrossing vision of America's Second Revolution.
"If Ward sometimes overstates the uniqueness of his own work, he never underestimates or exaggerates the collected wisdom of those slaves who knew the war in ways that turn its history and memory inside out and upside down. Highly recommended." Library Journal
"There are surprising accounts of the reaction of slaves to the invasion by Yankee outsiders. This is a work that will interest both scholars and general readers and will be an excellent addition to Civil War collections." Booklist
"This is a riveting book about the most important event in our history...readable and compelling." Ken Burns
"A fresh angle and a wealth of material that will be unfamiliar even to avid buffs." Kirkus Reviews
An acclaimed historian of 19th-century and African-American history presents the first narrative of the Civil War as told from the perspective of those whose destiny it decided.
About the Author
Andrew Ward, a writer for television, an essayist for the Atlantic, National Public Radio's All Things Considered, and the Washington Post, concluded that he would never understand this country until he understood the history and legacy of slavery. Researching his award-winning accounts of the roots of the African-American spiritual in Dark Midnight When I Rise and a Civil War massacre of black troops in River Run Red, Ward kept encountering former slaves' astonishing reminiscences of the war. Amazed that no one had assembled their testimony into a narrative of the conflict that set them free, he has sifted through thousands of eyewitness accounts of every major episode and personage to create a headlong and deeply human chronicle of the bloodiest war in American history.
Table of Contents
Part I: The Union, 1850 to 1860 Prologue: We Done Now” 3 1. Before Their Time” 6 2. A Grand Man” 12 3. The Union, Gentlemen, the Union” 23
Part II: The East, 1861 4. Worser for Us Than Ever” 37 5. Theys Folks!” 44
Part III: The West, 1861 and 1862 6. Grant Shelling the Rebels!” 55 7. The Blood Run Deep” 61 8. I Couldnt Leave” 74
Part IV: The East, 1862 9. This Child Just Pray” 89 10. A Squally Time” 94 11. Aint God the Captain?” 99
Part V: The West, 1863 12. I Rejoiced All I Could” 107 13. Ungodly Times” 117 14. Aint Over Yet” 128 15. Running from the War” 135 16. A Drizzly Day” 145
Part VI: The East, 1863 17. All the Poor Soldiers” 159 18. Fearing and Trembling” 165
Part VII: The West, 1864 19. Still I Rebelled” 175 20. A Rugged Cross” 184 21. Dont Want Any Such Again” 192
Part VIII: The East, 1864 22. All That Killing” 199 23. A Most Scandalous Thing” 209
Part IX: Sherman, 1864 24. Aint Gonna Be Long Now” 223 25. What They Care?” 229
Part X: East and West, 1865 26. I Have Seen Father Abraham” 241 27. The Plans of God” 248 28. A Tired Old Man” 254 29. The Rows End” 262 30. Nowhere to Go” 277 31. I Got My Own Again” 284
Epilogue: All Alike” 298 Authors Note: Well Talk This Story Over” 303 A Directory of Witnesses 312 Acknowledgments 352 Sources 354 Index 373
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