The Sacrificial Years: A Chronicle of Walt Whitman's Experiences in the Civil War

Whitman, Walt

Published by David R. Godine Publisher
ISBN 10: 1567920799 / ISBN 13: 9781567920796
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Synopsis: In Late 1862, at the height of the Civil War, the poet and former newspaperman Walt Whitman traveled to a Virginia base camp in search of his wounded brother. The unattended misery he found there -- rows of unburied corpses, piles of amputated limbs, wounded men lying on the frozen ground -- moved him to (as he wrote) "a profound conviction of necessity" that he had to help relieve it. Whitman spent the next four years, at great personal and professional sacrifice, working as a voluntary nurse at military hospitals in the frontline capital of Washington, tending the sick and wounded well past the war's end.The Sacrificial Year, is Walt Whitman's story of his involvement in the Civil War, and of his thoughts and feelings about this great crisis. Whitman himself never kept a diary of his experiences -- a fact he later regretted -- but he did write hundreds of letters, newspaper articles, and "memoranda." While many of these works have been published individually, editor John Harmon McElroy is the first to select and arrange Whitman's prose writings on the war in chronological sequence -- including previously unpublished extracts from his recently discovered Civil War notebook -- thereby reconstructing a continuous narrative of his month-to-month experience in his own words.Poignant and powerful, encompassing all the horror and scope of that immense conflict, Walt Whitman's war chronicles are among the essential documents of those crucial years. This edition contains nearly 300 entries, and is further enhanced with over 50 compelling period photographs of the places, people, and events that Whitman captured so vividly in his prose.

From Kirkus Reviews: The sight of defeated soldiers returning from battle is one America hasnt seen on its own turf since the Civil War. Its a sight that was vividly recorded by Walt Whitman, whose letters, newspaper articles, and other writings from the war are collected here chronologically for the first time. His descriptions are immediate and chilling. Here are soldiers in the wake of the first battle of Bull Run: During the forenoon Washington gets all over motley with these defeated soldiersqueer-looking objects, strange eyes and faces, drenchd (the steady rain drizzles on all day) and fearfully worn, hungry, haggard, blisterd in the feet. So compelled was he by the sight of wounded and dying soldiers that he volunteered as a nurse to attempt to relieve their suffering. Editor McElroy, professor emeritus of American literature at the University of Arizona, gathers here Whitmans dispatches from his years of service, 186166. The great poets admiration for those who have seen battle will resound today, when we are re- learning respect for the silent heroism of American GIs: There is something majestic about a man who has borne his part in battles, especially if he is very quiet regarding it when you desire him to unbosom. I am continually lost at the absence of blowing and blowers among the old-young American militaires. (16 pages b&w illustrations) -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Title: The Sacrificial Years: A Chronicle of Walt ...
Publisher: David R. Godine Publisher
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Fine

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