Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Drew Gilpin Faust on Death in the Civil War

Greetings Cosmic Americans!

Since I talked about death in books yesterday...I thought I would mention another today (morbid? Perhaps...get over it). I am kind of on the I will make it short.

Want to learn all about 19th century Americans' ideas of a "good" death? Want to know what these same folks do when they are faced with the deaths of 620,000 young men who die far from home and family?

This week I re-read a mighty fine book: This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War. It is among the best from Drew Gilpin Faust, president of Harvard University, prominent Civil War historian, and a person with whom I sometimes agree.




  1. Great book. Her description of the recovery and identification of the bodies at Andersonville is, by itself, worth the price. Who would've thought that Andersonville, of all places, would have the highest proportion of identified graves of any ACW national cemetery -- something like 97+%, IIRC.

  2. I have been using the book in my undergraduate research seminar, having students list her sources, reconstruct her outlines, and really see the book from the inside out.

    Its clarity and simple but profound argument allows them to see what her evidence is, how it fuels her argument, and how it changes our scholarly thinking. And it makes it a great read on an emotional topic, too.