Throughout, the viewpoints of soldiers, families, statesmen, generals, preachers, poets, surgeons and nurses, Northerners and Southerners, slaveholders, freed people, the most exalted, and the most humble are brought together to give a vivid understanding of the Civil War's widely shared reality.
©2008 Drew Gilpin Faust; (P)2008 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"Beautifully written, honest, and penetrating...Anyone wanting to understand the 'real war' and its transcendent meaning must face the facts Faust arrays before us...Essential." (Library Journal)
This is a wonderful book. A new & unique twist on understanding the Civil War, which is an amazing accomplishment given all that there is already. Beautifully written and beautifully read. Each chapter/subject seems to roll seamlessly into the next, so you hardly notice the page (I mean minutes) roll by. One of the best history books I've listened to from Audible in several years.
Drew Gilpin Faust's perspective on the Civil War is a must read for anyone who loves history and understands how our past shapes our present. Although at times the details are unflinching and grisly, they are included to paint a graphic picture of the true cost of war, and to put pain, loss and grief in true perspective. This should be required reading for American history students.
The narrator reminded me of the voice of Rudolph in the old claymation cartoon, but the book was well written and informative.
The book is well researched and interesting(and somewhat tedious if you are not "into" Civil War history) . The narrators treatment of letters and papers from the period is a problem however. She adopts a schoolmarm tone that is both dismissive of and condescending to the people that wrote the documents. I found that irritating.
Likes books and reading/listening
I loved Lorna Raver's voice and the material was interesting. Maybe not the most compelling Ive come across. On the other hand I don't hesitate in recomending this book.
Ancient Civil Engineer and Land Surveyor
Drew Gilpin Faust has managed to draw together the threads of the history of grieving during and after the Civil War and weave them into a tapestry that exposes and explains the unutterable grief that both the North and the South experienced. He also shows us that the relation between the Nation and its citizens changed profoundly during and after the war on account of the dead and how they should be dealt with and who is responsible for and to them.
Lorna Raver was a perfect match for this material.
Drew Gilpin Faust has added something valuable to the popular literature on the Civil War in "This Republic of Suffering." Focusing on the consequences of war rather than the battles and generals, Faust sets the conflict in human context. He links the death and suffering to public policy, record keeping, current attitudes, funeral practices and all manner of things which changed as a result of the battles.
The first half of the book was the most valuable to me. After that Faust digresses into the history of the mortuary business, accounting for the dead and religion. The religion section was weakest in my view. Statements were made that were not checked unrelated to the Civil War. For example, Faust asserts that the Bible sets the reation at 6,000 years. This is untrue so far as the Canon is concerned. At least I could not find it when I double checked. Individuals who have read the Bible sometimes speculate and calculate that number of years. This is a huge difference. The author just seemed to take a stereotypical view of religion in general that I questioned the entire section. Everyone cannot be an expert in every field so I don't fault the author for this chapter nor do I question his motivation.
That said,Faust has made a great contribuiton to our understanding of the human costs of the war and its continued effects on our daily lives - apart from racial issues.
This book is informative, surprising, entertaining, disturbing, and well written. The reading is excellent.
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