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The thin light of freedom : the Civil War and emancipation in the heart of America / Edward L. Ayers.

By: Ayers, Edward L, 1953- [author.].
Material type: TextTextPublisher: New York, NY : W.W. Norton & Company, [2017]Copyright date: ©2017Edition: First edition.Description: xxiii, 576 pages : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm.Content type: text Media type: unmediated Carrier type: volumeISBN: 9780393292633; 0393292630.Other title: Civil War and emancipation in the heart of America.Subject(s): American Civil War (1861-1865) | Shenandoah River Valley (Va. and W. Va.) -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 | Franklin (Venango County, Pa.) -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 | Augusta County (Va.) -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 | Slaves -- Emancipation -- United States | Pennsylvania -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 | HISTORY -- Military -- United States | HISTORY -- United States -- Civil War Period (1850-1877) | United States -- Shenandoah River Valley | Slaves -- Emancipation | Pennsylvania -- Franklin (Venango County) | United States | Virginia -- Augusta County | 1861-1865Genre/Form: History. | History.DDC classification: 975.5/9 LOC classification: E470.3 | .A94 2017
Contents:
Part one. The scourge of war : July 1863 through November 1864. The great invasion : May through July 1863 -- A gigantic forlorn hope : July 1863 -- The great task remaining before us : July 1863 through May 1864 -- The Earth will tremble : April through June 1864 -- To burn something in the enemy's country : June through October 1864 -- A campaign of terrible moment : September through November 1864 -- Part two. The harvest of war : December 1864 through 1902. The colossal suicide of world history : December 1864 through March 1865 -- The perils of peace : March through October 1865 -- Rebelism : January through December 1866 -- We must be one people : January 1867 through July 1869 -- The past is not dead : 1868 through 1902 -- Epilogue.
Summary: "Amid the devastation of war rise the first stirrings of freedom in this absorbing, ground-level narrative by an acclaimed historian. Virginia's Great Valley, prosperous in peace with a rich soil and an enslaved workforce, invited destruction in war. Voracious Union and Confederate armies ground up the valley, consuming crops, livestock, fences, and human life. Pitched battles at Gettysburg, Lynchburg, and Cedar Creek punctuated a cycle of vicious attacks and reprisals in which armies burned whole towns for retribution. North of the Mason-Dixon line, in the Pennsylvania portion of the valley, free black families sent husbands and sons to fight with the U.S. Colored Troops. In letters home, even as Lincoln commemorated the dead at Gettysburg, they spoke movingly of a war for emancipation. As defeat and the end of slavery descended on Virginia, with the political drama of Reconstruction unfolding in Washington, the crowded classrooms of the Freedmen's Bureau schools spoke of a new society struggling to emerge. Here is history at its best: powerful, insightful, grounded in human detail."--Provided by publisher.
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Item type Current location Call number Status Date due Barcode
Book University of Texas At Tyler
Stacks - 3rd Floor
E470.3 .A94 2017 (Browse shelf) Available 0000002331916

Includes bibliographical references (pages 503-552) and index.

Part one. The scourge of war : July 1863 through November 1864. The great invasion : May through July 1863 -- A gigantic forlorn hope : July 1863 -- The great task remaining before us : July 1863 through May 1864 -- The Earth will tremble : April through June 1864 -- To burn something in the enemy's country : June through October 1864 -- A campaign of terrible moment : September through November 1864 -- Part two. The harvest of war : December 1864 through 1902. The colossal suicide of world history : December 1864 through March 1865 -- The perils of peace : March through October 1865 -- Rebelism : January through December 1866 -- We must be one people : January 1867 through July 1869 -- The past is not dead : 1868 through 1902 -- Epilogue.

"Amid the devastation of war rise the first stirrings of freedom in this absorbing, ground-level narrative by an acclaimed historian. Virginia's Great Valley, prosperous in peace with a rich soil and an enslaved workforce, invited destruction in war. Voracious Union and Confederate armies ground up the valley, consuming crops, livestock, fences, and human life. Pitched battles at Gettysburg, Lynchburg, and Cedar Creek punctuated a cycle of vicious attacks and reprisals in which armies burned whole towns for retribution. North of the Mason-Dixon line, in the Pennsylvania portion of the valley, free black families sent husbands and sons to fight with the U.S. Colored Troops. In letters home, even as Lincoln commemorated the dead at Gettysburg, they spoke movingly of a war for emancipation. As defeat and the end of slavery descended on Virginia, with the political drama of Reconstruction unfolding in Washington, the crowded classrooms of the Freedmen's Bureau schools spoke of a new society struggling to emerge. Here is history at its best: powerful, insightful, grounded in human detail."--Provided by publisher.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

Ayers's superb new Civil War history, which began with In the Presence of Mine Enemies (2003), is set in Virginia's Great Valley and traces the stories of Augusta, VA, and Franklin, PA, counties from abolitionist John Brown's raid in 1859 to the eve of the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863. The work begins with Confederate troops invading Pennsylvania and two years of conflict, followed by the social and political chaos of Reconstruction and the passage of the 15th Amendment in 1870. Ayers notes that many Americans on both sides of the war did not anticipate the unconditional surrender of the South, the end of institutional slavery, and the reconstruction of the country based on fundamental human rights for all. Paradoxically, Ayers concludes that without secession, the mobilization of huge countervailing armies and the threat from initial military successes by the Rebels, there would likely have been no early postwar attempt at emancipation for African Americans. The author finds that "Americans made each others' history, often in ways they did not foresee or intend." VERDICT An original contribution of unimpeachable scholarship. Highly recommended for Civil War and regional historians, military theorists, and all readers.-John Carver Edwards, formerly with Univ. of Georgia Libs. © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Author notes provided by Syndetics

Edward L. Ayers 's The Thin Light of Freedom completes his prize-winning history of the Civil War and its aftermath in the Great Valley that began with In the Presence of Mine Enemies. Ayers' superb history has been awarded the Bancroft Prize, the Lincoln Prize, and the Avery O. Craven Award of the Organization of American Historians. A recipient of the National Humanities Medal from President Obama, Ayers is the Tucker-Boatwright Professor of the Humanities and president emeritus of the University of Richmond.

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