Wars Civil and Great
The American Experience in the Civil War and World War I
Sales Date: June 13, 2023
304 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in
- Published: June 2023
- Published: August 2023
- Published: June 2023
Although the Civil War and the Great War were fought only fifty years apart, the perceived time between these two cataclysmic events seems far longer in popular American memory: the Civil War was the centerpiece of the nineteenth century and lies deep in America’s past whereas World War I was a modern prelude to World War II, a conflict still in living memory. Wars Civil and Great breaks down these barriers of time and memory and shows how close and how similar these two conflicts really were in the American experience. Setting both wars in the long nineteenth century, the authors of this volume reveal how the Civil War cast its long shadow over the events of World War I. President Wilson looked to Lincoln during the Great War for guidance on national leadership at wartime; General John J. Pershing remembered the Civil War of his childhood and sought to learn lessons from Grant and McClellan; and the doughboys on European battlefields held firm to the culture of honor and duty that had inspired their forefathers to take up arms.
In this volume, every author as an expert in their own field addresses four overarching questions: What legacy did the Civil War leave? Did the World War I generation interpret the lessons of the Civil War, and if so, how? How did the Great War change the lessons from the Civil War era? And finally, how did both wars contribute to the modernization of the United States?
Wars Civil and Great highlights the striking similarities between the two wars by analyzing how the Civil War affected the American reaction to and experience in the Great War while attending to enlisted men, military officers, and political leaders. Other chapters address the environmental effects of both wars, the wars’ impacts on medicine and mental trauma, and the experiences of black American soldiers in both wars as they fought for a country that treated them so terribly.
This volume, while at first appearing as a disparate pairing of conflicts, deftly opens a new window into the past and establishes an illuminating paradigm in the two wars of the long nineteenth century.
“Finally! We needed a book just like this, and now we have it. The fascinating essays in this collection make a compelling case for some striking similarities between the American Civil War and the Great War. The two conflicts no longer seem distant from one another, but instead part of the same era. No matter your historical interests, you will learn something new from the juxtapositions made in this unique book.”—Lorien Foote, Patricia and Bookman Peters Professor of History, Texas A&M University, and author of Rites of Retaliation: Civilization, Soldiers, and Campaigns in the American Civil War
“Silbey and Wongsrichanalai provide readers with an important juxtaposition of the Civil War and the Great War—both essential for understanding America’s past and present. Besides their own splendid reflections, the editors also gathered a cadre of scholars who draw fascinating parallels between the two wars, anchored by Steven Trout’s thoughtful afterword.”—Edward A. Gutiérrez, director of Center for Military History and Grand Strategy, Hillsdale College, and author of Doughboys on the Great War: How American Soldiers Viewed Their Military Experience
Foreword, Jennifer D. Keene
Introduction: Remembrance of Wars Past: The American Civil War and the Great War at Their Sesquicentennial and Centennial Anniversaries, David J. Silbey and Kanisorn Wongsrichanalai
1. “On Each Side There Emerged a Supreme Commander”: Ulysses S. Grant and John J. Pershing (and Douglas Haig), 1861-1918, David J. Silbey
2. Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson, and Dying for One’s Country, Brian Dirck
3. African American Soldiers: The Struggle for Equality through Service in the Civil War and Great War, Debra Sheffer
4. “By Word or Act Oppose the Cause of the United States”: Loyalty in the Civil War-Era and Great War-Era America, Kanisorn Wongsrichanalai
5. War and the Shaping of American Medicine: The American Civil War and the Great War, Dale Smith and Shauna Devine
6. Healing the Unseen Wounds of War: Treating Mental Trauma in the Civil War and the Great War, Kathleen Logothetis Thompson
7. Blood and Soil: Americans and Environment in the Trenches of Petersburg and the Western Front, Brian Allen Drake
8. “We Owe Everything to Their Valor and Sacrifice”: The Experiences of Civil War and Great War Veterans, Kanisorn Wongsrichanalai
Afterword: Memoirs Great and Not-So-Great: Ulysses S. Grant’s and John J. Pershing’s Narratives of Command, Steven Trout
List of Contributors