Cover image for Cultures in conflict--the American Civil War
Cultures in conflict--the American Civil War
Woodworth, Steven E.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, [2000]

Physical Description:
xx, 220 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
Reading Level:
1230 Lexile.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E464 .W66 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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The American Civil War was primarily a conflict of cultures, and slavery was the largest single cultural factor separating North and South. This collection of carefully selected memoirs, diaries, letters, and reminiscences of ordinary Northerners and Southerners who experienced the war as soldiers or civilians brings to life the conflict in culture, principles, attitudes, hopes, courage, and suffering of both sides. Woodworth, a Civil War historian, has selected a wide variety of moving first person accounts, each of which tells a story of a life as well as the attitudes of ordinary people and the real conditions of war and homefront. Woodworth presents the war in the words of those who lived it.

Contrasting selections will help the reader to see the war through the eyes of Northerners and Southerners as: soldiers prepare for war; women's lives change after the men go to war; soldiers on both sides experience the difficulties of camp life; sweethearts (the half-sister of Mary Todd Lincoln and her Confederate fiancé) exchange heartfelt letters; a husband's letters and his wife's diary recount their love, his death in battle, and her deep loss, countered by her faith; soldiers and civilians recount the carnage of the war's devastating battles; and people on both sides reflect on the outcome of the war and its consequences to their way of life. The accounts contrast the writers' attitudes toward Northern and Southern society, the principles for which those societies stood, and the religious significance of the war. These accounts and the narrative discussion of the difference in culture will help readers to understand the Civil War as a conflict of cultures. Telling the story of the war as personal history makes the experience of the Civil War come alive for readers.

Author Notes

Steven E. Woodworth was born on January 28, 1961. He received a B.A. in history from Southern Illinois University in 1982 and a Ph.D. from Rice University in 1987. He is a professor of history at Texas Christian University and an expert on the Civil War. He has written a number of books on the topic including Jefferson Davis and His Generals: The Failure of Confederate Command in the West, While God Is Marching On: The Religious World of Civil War Soldiers, Nothing but Victory: The Army of the Tennessee 1861-1865, Manifest Destinies: Westward Expansion and the Civil War, and This Great Struggle: America's Civil War.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Fifty years ago, the views of so-called "revisionist" historians that the American Civil War had been a "needless war" caused by a "blundering generation" of 1850s politicos held sway in academic circles. Since then, less opinionated and more talented students of the war have created a scholarly consensus that the Civil War was primarily a struggle over the southern "peculiar institution" of Negro slavery and the conflicting cultures that evolved around the debate North and South. Thus, in a sense, this volume by Woodworth (Texas Christian Univ.) is essentially an exercise in proving the obvious and a rather lazy one at that, in that, apart from the two introductory chapters on the war and the cultures that caused it, the volume consists of edited primary material from combatants and those on the homefronts. Yet it is skillfully written and edited and an excellent read for beginning students and general readers. ; University of Minnesota--Duluth

Table of Contents

Prefacep. xi
A Civil War Timeline--Key Events, 1860-1865p. xv
Part I The Fiery Trial--The Civil War in Historical Perspective
Chapter 1 A Brief Historical Overview of the Civil Warp. 3
Chapter 2 The American Ways of Life, North and Southp. 21
Part II Documents
Chapter 3 The North and South Prepare for Conflictp. 49
Chapter 4 Early Exuberance Gives Way to Steady Determinationp. 69
Chapter 5 The Warring Sections Persevere through Weary Months of Strugglep. 103
Chapter 6 The War's Concluding Phases Bring Triumph and Sorrowp. 151
Part III Reflecting
Chapter 7 Ideas for Explorationp. 207
Suggestions for Further Readingp. 211
Indexp. 213