The Divided Family in Civil War America
By Amy Murrell Taylor
336 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 9 illus., 1 table, appends., notes, bibl., index
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-6186-8
Published: August 2009
eBook ISBN: 978-0-8078-9907-6
Published: November 2009
Civil War America
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In hundreds of border state households, brothers--and sisters--really did fight one another, while fathers and sons argued over secession and husbands and wives struggled with opposing national loyalties. Even enslaved men and women found themselves divided over how to respond to the war. Taylor studies letters, diaries, newspapers, and government documents to understand how families coped with the unprecedented intrusion of war into their private lives. Family divisions inflamed the national crisis while simultaneously embodying it on a small scale--something noticed by writers of popular fiction and political rhetoric, who drew explicit connections between the ordeal of divided families and that of the nation. Weaving together an analysis of this popular imagery with the experiences of real families, Taylor demonstrates how the effects of the Civil War went far beyond the battlefield to penetrate many facets of everyday life.
About the Author
Amy Murrell Taylor is associate professor of history at the State University of New York at Albany.
For more information about Amy Murrell Taylor, visit the Author Page.
"A fascinating study of actual families, North and South, white and black, divided by war. . . . Taylor writes well, easily mixing absorbing details of family dysfunction with cogent and complex analysis."--Journal of American History
"Taylor's deeply researched and thoroughly readable book is the first social and cultural history of Civil War-era divided families. . . . The dynamic portrait painted here ably renders any simple stories as much more complicated and complex narratives, and therefore ultimately much more historically satisfying."--Civil War History
"[The Divided Family in Civil War America] is a sophisticated and multi-faceted treatment of an ambitious topic. Taylor makes as significant a contribution to gender and family history as she does to that the on the Civil War home front, and her book deserves a wide readership from those interested in either field."--Journal of Southern History
"Taylor provides us with a convincing interpretation of the ways in which Americans used familiar ideas, behaviors, and rhetoric to cope with the colossal failure of family that was one aspect of the Civil War. Her work adds considerably to studies of Civil War popular culture and family life, her sources are comprehensive and well-mined, and her writing is thoughtful and at times downright lyrical. Well done."--American Historical Review
"Broad, deep, and thoroughly current."--Register of the Kentucky Historical Society
"A rich, new perspective on the Civil War."--Virginia Magazine