September 4, 2011

Life in the North During the Civil War: A Source History

I came across this interesting title the other day while doing some research for my current book project. Published in 1966 by the University of New Mexico Press, Life in the North During the Civil War: A Source History is described as “a living record of ideological discord in the North” from Secession to Reconstruction.” Its focus is to present important primary source documents, almost in total, nestled in between the authors’ contextual commentary.

Authors George Winston Smith and Charles Judah have arranged their work in a thematic manner, writing on numerous issues that held sway on the Northern home front during the conflict. Chapters such as “Citizens as Soldiers,” “The Voice of Politics,” “The Negro’s Place,” as well as ones pertaining to the economy, social stresses, amongst others, are all presented utilizing letters, speeches, newspaper articles, diary entries, et al as the primary focus. The authors’ commentary is then woven in between each document to add valuable context and background. In so doing, the authors succinctly explore the roles played by Northern politicians, freedmen, businessmen, soldiers, and economists. (See Eicher, The Civil War in Books, #1001) Further adding to the work are plenty of period woodcuts and editorial “cartoons” that complement each chapter’s particular topic.

It is an attractive 400-page work measuring 6x9” and bound in full avocado green cloth. First editions are so stated on the copyright page (there probably were no additional printings). While the book is not uncommon in the secondary market, finding a nice copy that is not ex-library is more challenging, which is usually the case with university press titles.

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