Civil War in Appalachia : Collected Essays

Civil War in Appalachia : Collected Essays


During the Battle of Perryville, fought in Kentucky in October 1862, participants experienced an unusual phenomenon known as an "acoustic shadow": this peculiar combination of wind and terrain muffled the sounds of the fighting in such a manner that nearby soldiers were unaware that the battle was even taking place. As the editors of this pioneering collection of essays observe, a figurative acoustic shadow has long fallen on the study of the Civil War in Appalachia. Regional stereotypes, cursory generalizations, and a neglect of geographic context have too often replaced detailed analysis and innovative interpretation.Recent historiography has begun to present a fuller view of the war as it unfolded in the mountain counties of Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, the Carolinas, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. The goals of this volume, the editors state, are "to provide a useful introduction to the social history of Appalachia's Civil War, illustrating both the strengths and weaknesses of current historiography; to sum up where we have been and suggest where we need to go; and to point out the need to integrate Appalachian scholarship with studies of the Civil War and vice versa". Among the topics covered are the experiences of blacks in Appalachia, the war as it affected women, the breakdown of community, changing gender roles, disaffection and desertion, guerrilla warfare, perceptions of mountain life, and the early stirrings of industrialization. These essays demonstrate the rich variety of Appalachian sentiments and attitudes toward the war, dismantling familiar myths such as the view of Appalachia as a "unionist monolith".Following the conflict from the secessioncrisis to the postwar period, these essays, taken together, provide what the editors call "the closest thing historians have to a comprehensive history of the Southern Mountains at war".

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Professor Kenneth W Noe
Hardback | 328 pages
162.8 x 237.7 x 30mm | 743.9g
Publication date
01 Aug 1997
Univ Tennessee Press
Illustrations note
Illustrations, unspecified