Greetings Cosmic Americans!
Yesterday, I did a video interview for Civil War Monitor. Stay tuned, the air date is coming up in the next couple of weeks so I will keep you posted. We talked about all kinds of things - but one thing we did not have a chance to get to were some of the recent Civil War books that really stand out. No fault to the Monitor....we just ran out of time.
So I will talk briefly about one here and now. Barbara Gannon's The Won Cause is the most engaging book on Civil War veterans I have read in quite some time. Think about this: the largest fraternal organization in the 19th century was integrated. Yes. If this surprises you, it may be because no one has really given that rather remarkable fact much thought until now.
There is a consensus among historians (as I have spoken of often) that suggests whites essentially turned their backs on black veterans after the war. Gannon tells us otherwise - focusing on the Grand Army of the Republic (the largest Union veterans' organization). She shows how, although racism persisted throughout the country after the Civil War, white Union veterans honored its black members, feeling a bond of comradeship that transcended racial barriers.
But don't take my word for it - read the book.