Synopses & Reviews
Music was everywhere during the Civil War. Tunes could be heard ringing out from parlor pianos, thundering at political rallies, and setting the rhythms of military and domestic life. With literacy still limited, music was an important vehicle for communicating ideas about the war, and it had a lasting impact in the decades that followed. Drawing on an array of published and archival sources, Christian McWhirter analyzes the myriad ways music influenced popular culture in the years surrounding the war and discusses its deep resonance for both whites and blacks, South and North.
"McWhirter shows the emotional power of music during the Civil War and explores how that power manifested itself throughout and even after the war. With incredibly rich primary sources, innovative scholarship, and effective presentation, this book will make an important contribution to our understanding of the Civil War."--Bruce C. Kelley, University of South Dakota
"A wealth of practical information on who composed what, when, and under what circumstances. [McWhirter's] discovery of minute details concerning the origins of popular Civil War songs constitutes a real contribution to this area of specialization."
-Civil War Book Review
"Recommended. Lower - and upper-division undergraduates; graduate students; professionals; general readers."
"Much more than a treat for lovers of good history writing and a fresh look at well-trodden fields, it is also a painful reminder of just how divided a nation we were at birth, and how those divisions live with us still."
-Huffington Post Arts and Culture
"No historian has done more than Christian McWhirter to open our ears to Civil War music as a very powerful expression of political action."
"An extensive, descriptive account of music during the American Civil War."
-Journal of American History
"A welcome addition to the historiography of the Civil War and the music of the period."
-The Annals of Iowa
convincingly combines historical and musicological perspectives by illustrating the mutual enrichment of music and extramusical culture."
-Register of the Kentucky Historical Society
"McWhirter's deft and entertaining use of anecdotal material to support his arguments will appeal to a wide audience."
"An extremely valuable addition to the canon of Civil War history."
"Contains fascinating, humorous, and little-known stories from the period."
"McWhirter excels at tracing the history and popularity of a variety of songs from the 1860s."
-Journal of Southern History
"General Robert E. Lee once stated: 'I don't see how we could have an army without music.' McWhirter has done as excellent job of opening our eyes and our ears to why this was so."
-Indiana Magazine of History
About the Author
Christian McWhirter is an assistant editor for the Papers of Abraham Lincoln at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.