The War for the Common Soldier

The War for the Common Soldier CWI Director Peter Carmichael’s new book, The War for the Common Soldier: How Men Thought, Fought and Survived in Civil War Armies, was released by UNC Press on November 19, 2018, as part of the Littlefield History of the Civil War Era series. The culmination of nearly ten years' work, this cultural history of soldiering in Civil War armies explores how soldiers endured the brutal and unpredictable existence of army life during the war years. Based on close examination of the letters and records left behind by individual soldiers from both the North and the South, Carmichael examines the totality of the Civil War experience - the marching, the fighting, the boredom, the idealism, the exhaustion, the punishments, and the frustrations of being away from families who often faced their own dire circumstances. Carmichael focuses not on what soldiers thought but rather how they thought. In doing so, he reveals how, to the shock of most men, well-established notions of duty or disobedience, morality or immorality, loyalty or disloyalty, and bravery or cowardice were blurred by war.

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