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Mary Chesnut's Civil War by Mary Chesnut

Mary Chesnut's Civil War (1981)

by Mary Chesnut, C. Vann Woodward (Editor)

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567817,547 (4.02)24
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» See also 24 mentions

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considered to be one of the best eye witness journals of the civil war and on a par with the best novels written on the war. Thanks to C Vann Woodward for his great work editing the original book of Mary Chesnut and congrats on winning the 1982 Pulitzer Prize in History for his work.. A great book for the Civil War enthusiast. This is not a story about civil war battles, but of the upper echelon society and people who actually managed the war for the South out of Richmond Va.Mary has keen insight in the hearts and minds of fellow elites and her relationship to her slaves is very interesting. One slave family insists on staying after the war and is the only bread winning person in the household selling food in the local market. This is a unique civil war book. She gives us a striking picture of the elaborate parties, food and drink, as their world, the confederacy, crumbles around them ( )
  antiqueart | Dec 3, 2013 |
Perfectly good book no doubt. However, one must be interested in the social life of the top one percent of the southern aristocracy, which I am not, finding them to be a particularly stupid and uninteresting group, even by usual aristo standards. The capacity of this group to bring about a war based on slavery - slavery! - and then lose that war against the odds, suggests Mary Chestnut should have written even more of a satire than she did write. ( )
  RobertP | Mar 4, 2012 |
  JohnMeeks | May 22, 2010 |
I kept thinking of Scarlett O'Hara while reading this. It's the portrait of a hot-blooded, cocky, pugnacious society that was teetering on the brink of destruction, like Carthage during the Punic Wars.

It's hard to have much sympathy. Chesnut is snide, hard-nosed, delusional, insightful, and vulnerable all at the same time. Her view into the minds and actions of the Confederate upper crust as things crumble around them touched my heart even as their motivations escaped me.

The irony is that once the hotheads had their way they were shoved aside and spent the rest of the war kvetching on the sidelines, excreting the same poisonous grease on their own side as they'd poured on Lincoln and the North a few scant months before.

Chesnut's book was originally published in a truncated edition after her death. Here Woodward has pieced together and deciphered her original text giving Chesnut's portraits of the Civil War's most compelling personalities a modern freshness that everyone can enjoy.
  wcpweaver | Oct 29, 2009 |
  JohnMeeks | Feb 3, 2009 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mary Chesnutprimary authorall editionscalculated
C. Vann WoodwardEditormain authorall editionsconfirmed
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at Johns Hopkins and at Yale
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Introduction: Literary critics who have written most thoughtfully about the work of Mary Boykin Chesnut have expressed some puzzlement and perplexity.
February 18, 1861. Conecuh. Ems. I do not allow myself vain regrets or sad foreboding.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Yale University Press

2 editions of this book were published by Yale University Press.

Editions: 0300029799, 0300024592

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