After the War: The Lives and Images of Major Civil War Figures After the Shooting Stopped

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9781566639675: After the War: The Lives and Images of Major Civil War Figures After the Shooting Stopped
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"Show me a hero and I will write you a tragedy," said F. Scott Fitzgerald. Perhaps no event in American history better illustrates this view than the Civil War and its principal players in the years after the conflict. The value of military glory and ties to greatness would turn toward the tragic even among the victors—like earthquake survivors stumbling into another world, simply trying to make a new life. Their struggle would be a constant tug back toward a destroyed past, and a confrontation with the reality of being strangers in their own land.

David Hardin's stories of eleven such figures are revealing and touching: the explosive romance between Jefferson Davis's daughter and the grandson of a Yankee abolitionist; the struggle between the irreligious William T. Sherman and his devout Catholic wife for the soul of their unstable son; the bankrupt Ulysses Grant's heroic race to complete his memoirs and provide for his family while dying of cancer. These are among the stories and people in After the War, which also includes the Southern diarist Mary Chesnut, the luckless Confederate John Bell Hood, the sometimes Klan leader Nathan Bedford Forrest, the shopaholic Mary Lincoln, the gentlemanly Joe Johnston, the mythological Robert E. Lee, the underappreciated Union general George Thomas, and the plucky Libbie Custer, who defended her husband best known for his reckless disaster.

Whether Northerner or Southerner, their lives did not end at Appomattox. Their dissimilar outcomes are a feast of irony and, collectively, a portrait of national change. With eleven black-and-white photographs.

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About the Author:

David Hardin is a veteran newspaperman who grew up on the battlefield of Nashville, Tennessee. He has been a writer and editor at newspapers across the South, including those in Nashville; Raleigh; Savannah; Miami; Tampa; Jackson, Mississippi; and Huntsville, Alabama. Among his national journalism awards is a Pulitzer Prize. He lives in the Huntsville, Alabama area.

Review:

We all love hearing 'the rest of the story.' In this wonderful book David Hardin has, in a most compelling and often moving way, brought us the very human rest of the story of eleven prominent Civil War figures after the war. In Hardin's skillful hands they all live again, and we learn things about them we perhaps wondered about, but never knew—a most satisfying reading experience. (John C. Waugh)

Civil War buffs will find long overlooked information in Hardin's narratives. And anyone interested in the Civil War era will find his book, After the War, worth reading. (New York Journal of Books)

Journalist Hardin provides 11 brief biographies of major military and nonmilitary Civil War figures―and/or their loved ones―who survived the war. (Library Journal)

For four bloody years in the middle of the 19th century, the American Civil War created rifts between families, friends and colleagues as men from the North and South fought over questions of slavery and secession. But what became of those after the guns fell silent? That's the question behind David Hardin's After the War: The Lives and Images of Major Civil War Figures After the Shooting Stopped. (The Paris Post-Intelligencer)

History is full of great lives; generally, readers know of them at their moment on history's stage and not so much after their days in the limelight. The question, 'Whatever happened to. . . ?' is ably asked and answered in this book which concerns itself with the continuing lives of eleven folks from the Civil War, some well-known and others not so. The list is necessarily short and those that are included certainly should be. Of the eleven, five are civilians and five are combatants, with the last being a chapter on the Custers, George and Elizabeth. The rest of the list contains: Winnie Davis, Tom Sherman, Grant, Mary Lincoln, Mary Chestnut, John Bell Hood, Forrest, Joseph Johnston, George Thomas and Robert E. Lee. The irony involved in some of these stories makes for a compelling read. For example, Winnie Davis, daughter of Jefferson and Varina, is involved in an explosive romance with the grandson of an ardent Yankee abolitionist; Tom Sherman, son of General William Sherman, becomes a priest after the favorite son dies during the war; Mrs. Grant and Mrs. Davis actually become friends; and the list goes on. Some stories reveal the animosities prevalent after the guns fell silent; the diarist Chestnut and Confederate General Johnston are but two examples. There are interesting tidbits galore, some you know and others you have forgotten; each chapter stands alone in this well written narrative. It belongs on Civil War bookshelves at every level of expertise. (The Past In Review)

Rich, complex. . . . Approaching the Civil War's sesquicentennial, David Hardin's questions―Was it a triumph? Or a waste?―are useful guideposts as we retravel the course of our nation's most traumatic event. (Civil War News)

As the Civil War sesquicentennial advances, it's useful to remember that life went on for many of its principal players and their families after Appomattox. In After the War, David Hardin profiles the postwar lives of 11 prominent figures, from Ulysses S. Grant to Robert E. Lee and from Jefferson Davis's daughter Winnie to George Armstrong Custer's wife Libbie. The stories of how they personally dealt with the war's aftermath are emblematic of the post-traumatic stresses of a fitfully reunited nation. (Zentralblatt für Geologie und Paläontologie)

A very interesting book that is hard to put down as all of the stories are so interesting. This book will make a nice addition to your Civil War library. (The Lone Star Book Review)

David Hardin's After the War collects several stories in a highly readable collection that should find a broad readership....An engaging read that sheds light on several prominent Civil War figures' postwar experiences. For an audience familiar with the careers of these men and women, the book provides an intensely personal look at the rest of their lives that humanizes each subject. That reason alone makes this an excellent book for a popular audience looking for a broader understanding of the men and women of the Civil War era. (Journal of Southern History)

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