A groundbreaking investigation examining the fate of Union veterans who won the war but couldn't bear the peace.
For well over a century, traditional Civil War histories have concluded in 1865, with a bitterly won peace and Union soldiers returning triumphantly home. In a landmark work that challenges sterilized portraits accepted for generations, Civil War historian Brian Matthew Jordan creates an entirely new narrative. These veterans - tending rotting wounds, battling alcoholism, campaigning for paltry pensions - tragically realized that they stood as unwelcome reminders to a new America eager to heal, forget, and embrace the freewheeling bounty of the Gilded Age.
Mining previously untapped archives, Jordan uncovers anguished letters and diaries, essays by amputees, and gruesome medical reports, all deeply revealing of the American psyche. In the model of 21st century histories like Drew Gilpin Faust's This Republic of Suffering or Maya Jasanoff's Liberty's Exiles that illuminate the plight of the common man, Marching Home makes almost unbearably personal the rage and regret of Union veterans. Their untold stories are critically relevant today.
©2015 Brian M. Jordan (P)2015 Recorded Books
This is an excellent study of the lives of Union Army veterans from the end of the Civil War until the last veteran passed in 1956. I teach U.S. History on the high school level so I know a great deal about the Civil War. However, there was much in this book that I had not seen anywhere else and much that made events or places I had heard about (Andersonville is a good example of this) much more meaningful. Anyone interested in the effects of the Civil War, on the history of the United States, should read this book. Anyone interested in understanding the veterans of any war (including the current War on Terror) will benefit from the massive research and insights offered in this work.
Since I became interested in the Civil War 30+ years ago, I've always been more interested in the Boys in Blue after they came home. I don't know how many memoirs I've read where I would anticipate the final chapter so I could learn how the war ended for these boys and what they looked forward to the rest of their lives. And until now, there hadn't been any book that went into detail on the hardships they suffered once home. That story has arrived!
This was an excellent book cover to cover. I was very pleased with the content and excited to hear what actually happened to these gallant men, the formation of the GAR, their individual hardships, governmental challenges, and then how they finally faded into the sunset. Fascinating!
When the war ended, it wasn't easy for allot of them. Those that had lost limbs, sight, crippled in any way, along with the mental challenges each faced and how they were spurned by their own government when they sought post war medical assistance is shameful at best. It sounded all too familiar (Vietnam, Gulf War). And as late as the 1940's, the GAR still held encampments, fighting for their rights as Civil War Veterans, while seeking an audience interested in hearing their story.
The only problem I had with the Audible version was the narrator. If only Grover Gardner could have been heard, as this guy (John McDonough) is far too dramatic with each word that at times, it's almost painful to keep listening...almost.
Get this one in your library quick! It will not disappoint and at a reasonable pace, you can finish in a weekend.
The Union Forever!
First the performance. The narrator has a passion and that comes through in his naration. However, in my humble opinion... it is difficult to listen to his performance. The strained, forced sounds of his voice portray in my mind the final years of an emphezimic person that will eventually succumb to the lung diseases they possess.
As for the story... as a child born in the mid 1950's, I was born at precisely the right time. I needed to register for the draft, but was never called. I have vivid memories of the return from Vietnam of the valiant soldiers and the shabby way they were treated upon arrival.
As I said in the title, change the dates.... to any time in the history of the United States and the story is still the same! our Veterans have, given this book, forever had to fight not only to defend the Country, but also for their benefits!
I will listen to this again, in spite of my feelings toward the naration.
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