Monday, January 01, 2007

The Blessed Place of Freedom: Europeans in Civil War America by Dean B. Mahin

The Blessed Place of Freedom: Europeans in Civil War America by Dean B. Mahin describes the participation of immigrants in the Civil War.

The book is divided into two sections. The first section describes the numbers and reasons for members of different European ethnicities to join the Army's of the north and south.

The second section provides commentary created by immigrants or foreign observers discussing various parts of the Civil War. Some of these are based around discussions of the military campaigns Gettysburg, Vicksburg and the Naval engagements. There's also a discussion of the political aspect of the war foreign recognition of the South and the issue of slavery. The author has obviously spent quite a bit of time in the archives. An impressive piece of scholarship.

There are a few minor irritations. In the first section we get repeated reasons for enlistment which had nothing necessarily to do with individuals being a particular ethnicity for instance signing up for a sense of adventure or for the money. This gets rather repetitive. There's no context given in the second section if the opinions given by the immigrants or onlookers were different from your average nativeborn American.

There are 2 appendixes which contain short biographies of foreign-born officers in the Union and Confederate military s.

Highly recommended. A different way of looking at the Civil War.

Is available through Abebooks.

1 comment:

Maggie said...

You are the BEST! I invision your bookshelves needing spacers for support! :-)