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The Last Battleground

The Civil War Comes to North Carolina

By Philip Gerard

376 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 27 halftones, bibl., index

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-4956-6
    Published: March 2019
  • eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-4957-3
    Published: February 2019

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To understand the long march of events in North Carolina from secession to surrender is to understand the entire Civil War--a personal war waged by Confederates and Unionists, free blacks and the enslaved, farm women and plantation belles, Cherokees and mountaineers, conscripts and volunteers, gentleman officers and poor privates. In the state's complex loyalties, its sprawling and diverse geography, and its dual role as a home front and a battlefield, North Carolina embodies the essence of the whole epic struggle in all its terrible glory.

Philip Gerard presents this dramatic convergence of events through the stories of the individuals who endured them--reporting the war as if it were happening in the present rather than with settled hindsight--to capture the dreadful suspense of lives caught up in a conflict whose ending had not yet been written. As Gerard reveals, whatever the grand political causes for war, whatever great battles decided its outcome, and however abstract it might seem to readers a century and a half later, the war was always personal.

About the Author

Philip Gerard is professor of creative writing at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. His previous books include Down the Wild Cape Fear.
For more information about Philip Gerard, visit the Author Page.

Reviews

"Gerard's scholarship is remarkably sound. . . . His modus operandi is to bring events to the reader through the eyes of the participants. This narrative strategy allows Gerard to give a sense of personal immediacy to events that otherwise might be lost in a litany of names, numbers, dates, and places."--Civil War Times

“Philip Gerard has done a first-class job of relating North Carolina’s rich Civil War history, not only in accurate reporting of events but also in marvelous story-telling. No reader will come away from a perusal of this book without being impressed by its lively style and its immediacy.”--The Journal of America’s Military Past

“A refreshing look at the people and places impacted by the war in North Carolina. . . . Gerard’s account of North Carolina’s role in the war is deeply personalized.”--Choice Reviews

“Covers a wide range of topics from the most obscure private soldier’s story and the plight of women, children, and minorities, to the great battles fought on North Carolina soil . . . . a lively and enjoyable read.”--H-Net Reviews

“[Gerard's] smooth, novelistic style should open this material to many readers who thought they didn’t like history.”--Wilmington Star News

“As Gerard reveals, whatever the grand political causes for war, whatever great battles decided its outcome, and however abstract it might seem to readers a century and a half later, the war was always personal.”--McCormick Messenger