This republic of suffering : death and the American Civil War / Drew Gilpin Faust.

By: Faust, Drew GilpinMaterial type: TextTextPublisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2008Edition: 1st edDescription: xviii, 346 p. : ill. ; 25 cmISBN: 9780375404047; 037540404XSubject(s): United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Social aspects | United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Psychological aspects | United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Influence | Death -- Social aspects -- United States -- History -- 19th century | Death -- United States -- Psychological aspects -- History -- 19th century | Burial -- Social aspects -- United States -- History -- 19th century | Burial -- United States -- Psychological aspects -- History -- 19th centuryAdditional physical formats: Online version:: This republic of suffering.; Online version:: This republic of suffering.DDC classification: 973.7/1 LOC classification: E468.9 | .F385 2008Other classification: 15.85
Contents:
The work of death -- Dying: "to lay down my life" -- Killing: "the harder courage" -- Burying: "new lessons caring for the dead" -- Naming: "the significant word UNKNOWN" -- Realizing: civilians and the work of mourning -- Believing and doubting: "what means this carnage?" -- Accounting: "our obligations to the dead" -- Numbering: "how many? how many?" -- Epilogue: Surviving.
Summary: An illuminating study of the American struggle to comprehend the meaning and practicalities of death in the face of the unprecedented carnage of the Civil War. During the war, approximately 620,000 soldiers lost their lives. An equivalent proportion of today's population would be six million. This book explores the impact of this enormous death toll from every angle: material, political, intellectual, and spiritual. Historian Faust delineates the ways death changed not only individual lives but the life of the nation and its understanding of the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. She describes how survivors mourned and how a deeply religious culture struggled to reconcile the slaughter with its belief in a benevolent God, and reconceived its understanding of life after death.--From publisher description.
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Book University of Texas At Tyler
Stacks - 3rd Floor
E468.9 .F385 2008 (Browse shelf) Available 0000001928928

Includes bibliographical references (p. [273]-322) and index.

The work of death -- Dying: "to lay down my life" -- Killing: "the harder courage" -- Burying: "new lessons caring for the dead" -- Naming: "the significant word UNKNOWN" -- Realizing: civilians and the work of mourning -- Believing and doubting: "what means this carnage?" -- Accounting: "our obligations to the dead" -- Numbering: "how many? how many?" -- Epilogue: Surviving.

An illuminating study of the American struggle to comprehend the meaning and practicalities of death in the face of the unprecedented carnage of the Civil War. During the war, approximately 620,000 soldiers lost their lives. An equivalent proportion of today's population would be six million. This book explores the impact of this enormous death toll from every angle: material, political, intellectual, and spiritual. Historian Faust delineates the ways death changed not only individual lives but the life of the nation and its understanding of the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. She describes how survivors mourned and how a deeply religious culture struggled to reconcile the slaughter with its belief in a benevolent God, and reconceived its understanding of life after death.--From publisher description.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

Renowned historian and new president of Harvard University Faust grapples with the meaning of death in the Civil War as no scholar has done before. The reality of death defined the Civil War for most Americans more than the promise of freedom, she says. Death touched many aspects of life then, including assurances that loved ones died "the good death," with faith that would bring them to God's embrace, new ideas of heaven as a place of reunion, campaigns to recover bodies for burial, new methods of embalming, means of statistically tracking numbers of deaths, and the creation of cemeteries. Faust follows the bodies from battlefield to grave, backing up her claims with prodigious research. Beautifully written, honest, and penetrating, Faust's book about "the work of death" in fact brings death to life. Anyone wanting to understand the "real war" and its transcendent meaning must face the facts Faust arrays before us. Only then is it possible to know how the republic that suffered so much death gained the means of civic and even psychic renewal through remembrance. Essential.-Randall M. Miller, Saint Joseph's Univ., Philadelphia (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

CHOICE Review

This is a readable history of the effect the Civil War's death toll had on transforming American society and the way it looked at and handled death. Faust (Harvard) divides her text into eight chapters covering evocative issues about the war and its dead: "Dying," "Killing," "Burying," "Naming," "Realizing," "Believing and Doubting," "Accounting," and "Numbering." The text flows smoothly but is not trite. Excerpts from letters, diaries, journals, and other firsthand accounts sweep readers up in the pathos of the war's carnage. The accounting is balanced, with both Union and Confederate observations. The magnitude of Civil War casualties transformed US attitudes toward death and dying, especially commemoration. New federal policies emerged regarding accounting for the number of war dead and the identification of remains. Emergency transport services evolved for handling the wounded. The overwhelming need for burial space became a public nightmare and a cause for public outcry. The national cemetery movement evolved from this period, as did the creation of national days of remembrance, such as Memorial Day, along with other regional commemorative days. A highly informative text, well documented and illustrated, with an extensive reference section. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels/libraries. G. Jeane formerly, Samford University

Author notes provided by Syndetics

Drew Gilpin Faust is president of Harvard University, where she also holds the Lincoln Professorship in History. Dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study from 2001 to 2007, she came to Harvard after twenty-five years on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of five previous books, including Mothers of Invention: Women of the Slaveholding South in the American Civil War, which won the Francis Parkman Prize and the Avery Craven Prize. She and her husband live in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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