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Ashes of Glory: Richmond at War (1996)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679422323, Hardcover)The siege of Richmond, Virginia, is unlike anything in the history of America. For four years the Union soldiers tied an ever-tightening noose around the defiant city. That story--and the way Ernest B. Furgurson tells it--is reason enough to tackle this work. But even more fascinating is Furgurson's exploration of the minds of the residents who so passionately supported the Confederate cause. What twist of logic must have inspired a citizenry--many of whom never owned slaves--to plunge into one of history's bloodiest conflicts? Visit Richmond in its proudest moments, when it envisioned victory; visit Richmond in its darkest times, when it felt flames.
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:47:51 -0400)
In Ashes of Glory, Ernest B. Furgurson conjures up wartime Richmond in vivid detail. We meet not only with such luminaries as Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, and Stonewall Jackson but with a strikingly broad spectrum of the community: preachers, nurses, newspapermen, bureaucrats, entrepreneurs, slaves, slave dealers, bootleggers, actors, spies, prostitutes, prisoners of war, refugees, handsome widows, eager debutantes, and swarms of enlisted men and officers from all. over the South. Furgurson ushers us into the legendary Spotswood Hotel, where generals and gentry communed amid gossip and bourbon. He admits us to the hospitals crammed with amputees and infested by rats. He plunges us into a bread riot involving several hundred citizens and spurred by a "woman huckster." He shows us that, despite universal hardship, Richmond fairly crackled with spirit: theater manager John Hill Hewitt kept melodrama flowing on the city's popular. stages; taffy parties, faro parlors, and sewing circles kept various other constituencies entertained; Colonel Thomas E. Rose of Pennsylvania and dozens more tunneled out of notorious Libby Prison; the genteel Union sympathizer Elizabeth Van Lew conducted an elaborate and extraordinarily successful campaign of espionage. Meanwhile, beneath the surface, a compound of defiance, despair, and paranoia preyed on the nerves of everyone from President Davis on down, turning a. stunned and battered, once-glamorous society virtually inside out.
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