This sequel to A Nation Torn: The Story of How the Civil War Began (Lodestar, 1990) is the story of the Civil War as seen from the perspective of common soldiers who served in Union blue and Confederate gray; coverage is from the first shots fired upon Fort Sumter to the long trek home at war's end. Ray is an excellent narrator and has chosen many informative, perceptive personal accounts upon which to base her work. The fears, horrors, boredom, and simple, transitory pleasures of these young men are brought into sharp focus by the many first-person writings. Especially moving is the chapter concerning medical care—primitive at best—and the prisoner of war camps—inhumane at worst. Readers may learn for the first time of the many Native American volunteers; all-black regiments; and the large number of German, Irish, and other foreign-born soldiers who fought in the war. Black-and-white historical photographs and reproductions flesh out this highly readable volume that should whet the appetite of readers and inspire them to delve further into a this period.
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