• This Republic of Suffering

  • Death and the American Civil War
  • By: Drew Gilpin Faust
  • Narrated by: Lorna Raver
  • Length: 10 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Military
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (258 ratings)
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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.

Critic Reviews

"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 listeners say about This Republic of Suffering

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

29 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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pretty good

this was quite interesting although the reader sounds like she is preaching and it really works for the quotations but sometimes I wanted a break in tone.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

amazing book, great narration!

Every American should read this book to understand the true cost of the Civil War

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

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.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

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.

16 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Performance Subtracts From Content

I’ve never paid much attention to the narrator’s style. Until this one. Tough to get through the book - too much overacting.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Not What I Was Hoping For...

The opening to the book, describing the Victorian views on death and funeral practices was very informative and more in line with how I thought the rest of the book would go. However, the majority of the book was a seemingly never ending list of anecdotes taken from diaries, newspapers and official reports. There wasn't much discussion after about the second chapter, just endless anecdotes, which was not what I was hoping for. In all, the previously mentioned introduction, part of an early chapter about the dilemmas soldiers faced regarding battlefield burials and the last chapter about the Body Reclamation Committees where the best parts of the book. The book as a whole seemed listless, drifting from unconnected newspaper articles used to illustrate the rampant racism in the South, to an entire chapter dedicated the writings of Bierce, Dickinson and Melville. I can't say that it was entirely uninformative, but I also can't say that it was entirely worth my time.

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Simply stunning.

The book was well researched and eloquently presented. The reading of it itself was lilting and smooth.

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    5 out of 5 stars

great insight into the war

lots of great insight , answers to how and why Southern records are so hard to find for family tree research, gives perspective on the lives, experiences and deaths of the people during the war