408 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 31 halftones, notes, bibl., index
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-4309-0
Published: December 2018
eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-4310-6
Published: November 2018
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Awards & distinctions
2018 NYMAS Civil War Book Award, New York Military Affairs Symposium
Digging deeply into his soldiers' writing, Carmichael resists the idea that there was "a common soldier" but looks into their own words to find common threads in soldiers' experiences and ways of understanding what was happening around them. In the end, he argues that a pragmatic philosophy of soldiering emerged, guiding members of the rank and file as they struggled to live with the contradictory elements of their violent and volatile world. Soldiering in the Civil War, as Carmichael argues, was never a state of being but a process of becoming.
About the Author
Peter S. Carmichael is the Robert C. Fluhrer Professor of Civil War Studies, director of the Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College, and author of previous books, including The Last Generation.
For more information about Peter S. Carmichael, visit the Author Page.
“A much-needed update of the experience of the Civil War's fighting men on both sides. . . . He illustrates his main points with extensive quotations from primary sources plus a variety of contemporary illustrations that significantly add to the context. Carmichael is both an experienced author and a versatile presenter, and it shows; though the main text is just over 300 pages, his presentation has both breadth and depth. It is, in all, a major achievement.”--Choice
“Carmichael’s work goes a long way toward helping those who might support, or participate in, future conflicts to understand how their predecessors met and overcame significant challenges when called to face their own iterations of injustice.”--H-Net Reviews
“Impressive, if not impeccable . . . . The War for the Common Soldier is a serious and important work.”--Civil War News
"It is nor possible to expect anyone to write the last word on either the dark side of Civil War soldiering or the persistence model for understanding the combat experience in the Civil War, but Carmichael has given us an important new way to look at both that will serve to bridge the gap between two lines of scholarly inquiry that too often are seen as contradictory or antagonistic."--Earl J. Hess, ARMY Magazine
“If you are interested in the life of the common Civil War soldier, you will want to read this book. . . . The book brings together a number of interesting threads which make the reader contemplate the differences and the similarities between Union and Confederate soldiers.”--The Journal of America’s Military Past
"How did Civil War soldiers face the daily pandemonium and dreariness of fighting a war? Bringing us straight into their hearts and minds, Peter Carmichael skillfully illuminates how the men continually juggled patriotism and apathy, obedience and defiance, manliness and vulnerability, zeal and exhaustion, bravery and dread, both on and off the battlefield."--Martha Hodes, author of Mourning Lincoln