"The history of the Civil War is the stories of its soldiers," writes Ronald S. Coddington in the preface to Faces of the Confederacy. This book tells the stories of seventy-seven Southern soldiers—young farm boys, wealthy plantation owners, intellectual elites, uneducated poor—who posed for photographic portraits, cartes de visite, to leave with family, friends, and sweethearts before going off to war. Coddington, a passionate collector of Civil War–era photography, conducted a monumental search for these previously unpublished portrait cards, then unearthed the personal stories of their subjects, putting a human face on a war rife with inhuman atrocities.
The Civil War took the lives of 22 of every 100 men who served. Coddington follows the exhausted survivors as they return home to occupied cities and towns, ravaged farmlands, a destabilized economy, and a social order in the midst of upheaval. This book is a haunting and moving tribute to those brave men.
Like its companion volume, Faces of the Civil War: An Album of Union Soldiers and Their Stories, this book offers readers a unique perspective on the war and contributes to a better understanding of the role of the common soldier.
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Ronald S. Coddington is a visual journalist whose work has appeared in USA Today, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and the San Jose Mercury News. He writes a monthly column, "Faces of War," for The Civil War News and is the author of Faces of the Civil War: An Album of Union Soldiers and Their Stories, also published by Johns Hopkins.Review:
Coddington has hit upon a unique and fascinating niche in the seemingly endless march of Civil War books.(C&RL News)
A lavishly produced visual record of southern Civil War soldiers... will appeal to serious photography enthusiasts and collectors, as well as those readers captivated by the personal stories of Civil War soldiers.(Civil War Books and Authors)
Coddington's prose is as unpretentious as the faces he shares, yet authoritative. It resurrects details that broaden our understanding of those sad times and sheds valuable light on the shape of modern culture.(Atlanta Constitution)
Faces of the Confederacy is a fine effort from a talented researcher and writer and comes highly recommended.(David Neville Military Images Magazine)
Coddington's research in manuscript collections, newspapers, regimental histories, and soldiers' memoirs has yielded a fascinating volume which anyone interested in the Civil War will enjoy browsing.(Indiana Magazine of History)
This is a beautiful book, and the publisher's use of high quality paper ensures that the images are superb. The notes, references, and index are also first rate. This unique book deserves a wide audience and will appeal to military historians and students of the Civil War in particular.(On Point)
Extensive research, fascinating characters, and visual presentation of common southern soldier... The author has done an admirable job of literally placing a face on the ordinary Confederate soldier.(Journal of Southern History)
Even at a distance of over a hundred years, the faces staring out of these pages create an undeniable emotional connection with the reader. This book is highly recommended.(H-CivWar, H-Net Reviews)
Will have its strongest appeal to photography historians and Confederate military enthusiasts, but Coddington can be proud of his accomplishment.(Russell K. Brown The Journal of America's Military Past)
Faces of the Confederacy is an admirable accomplishment.(David Carlson Military History of the West)
A charming book for enthusiasts, and a tribute to the excellent detective work of the author.(Elizabeth D. Leonard, Colby College)
Ronald S. Coddington has scored a masterpiece again. As a follow-up to his much applauded Faces of the Civil War featuring Union soldiers and sailors, he has authored a sequel. This time Confederates are center stage as they proudly pose for the all-important cartes de visite that are as treasured today by collectors and buffs as by their home folks and comrades of long ago. Complementing these are biographical profiles that inform but do not overwhelm, reminding us that each haunting face is a real person who lived, served and died many years ago.(Edwin C. Bearss, National Park Service)
With his meticulous research and a journalist's eye for good stories, Ron Coddington has brought new life to Civil War photographic portraits of obscure and long-forgotten Confederates whose wartime experiences might otherwise have been lost to history. This is more than just a fine compilation of Civil War photographs.(Bob Zeller, Center for Civil War Photography)
Ron Coddington has produced a fine new volume that will take its place beside William A. Albaugh’s Confederate Faces and several other Confederate photographic histories. Faces of the Confederacy continues the tradition of publishing Confederate soldier portraits, but instead of the standard fare of somewhat small photographs and brief captions, he provides us with full page pictures and the thoroughly researched stories of each individual depicted, widening our understanding of these men far beyond the normal presentation. In the world of Civil War photography, it is rare to find something that is truly new, but this book fits that bill.(Les Jensen, West Point Museum)
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