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This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War | [Drew Gilpin Faust]

This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War

During the Civil War, 620,000 soldiers lost their lives - equivalent to six million in today's population. This Republic of Suffering explores the impact of the enormous death toll from material, political, intellectual, and spiritual angles. Drew Gilpin Faust delineates the ways death changed not only individual lives but the life of the nation and describes how a deeply religious culture reconciled the slaughter with its belief in a benevolent God.
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Publisher's Summary

During the Civil War, 620,000 soldiers lost their lives - equivalent to six million in today's population. This Republic of Suffering explores the impact of the enormous death toll from material, political, intellectual, and spiritual angles. Drew Gilpin Faust delineates the ways death changed not only individual lives but the life of the nation and describes how a deeply religious culture reconciled the slaughter with its belief in a benevolent God.

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.

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

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  •  
    D. Littman OH 04-21-08
    D. Littman OH 04-21-08 Member Since 2003

    history buff

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    ratings
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    "a unique civil war perspective"

    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.

    25 of 26 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Margaret Plymouth, MN, USA 01-15-09
    Margaret Plymouth, MN, USA 01-15-09 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "This Republic of Suffering"

    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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Phillip GRANT, AL, United States 01-30-10
    Phillip GRANT, AL, United States 01-30-10 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good book - terrible narration"

    The narrator reminded me of the voice of Rudolph in the old claymation cartoon, but the book was well written and informative.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dallas Aurora, CO, USA 09-14-08
    Dallas Aurora, CO, USA 09-14-08 Member Since 2001
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    "Schoolmarm narrator"

    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.

    8 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Miriam Los Angeles, CA, United States 04-12-13
    Miriam Los Angeles, CA, United States 04-12-13 Member Since 2011

    Likes books and reading/listening

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    "Interesting slant"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Geekazoid Prairie Village, KS USA 06-09-09
    Geekazoid Prairie Village, KS USA 06-09-09 Member Since 2002

    Larry

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A nation born in tears."

    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.

    2 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Halena Alexandria, KY, United States 12-13-09
    Halena Alexandria, KY, United States 12-13-09 Member Since 2005

    Artist in Northern Kentucky. Loves listening to books. My likes are history, mystery and some , and mostly writers of the twentieth century

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Awesome Book"

    This book revealed to me so much about our present culture, i.e. the southern bible belt.

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Roy Beaumont, TX, United States 08-23-09
    Roy Beaumont, TX, United States 08-23-09 Member Since 2005
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    "Vivid Insights"

    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.

    1 of 6 people found this review helpful
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