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The first narrative history of the Civil War told by the very people it freed

The slaves’ war : the Civil War in the words of former slaves    Boston : Houghton Mifflin Co., 2008  Andrew Ward Slaves United States History Civil War, 1861-1865 Social aspects Hardcover. 1st. ed. and printing. xiv, 386 p., [16] p. of plates : ill. ; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. [354]-372) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

The Slaves’ War delivers a tempered vision of the nation’s bloodiest conflict.  Andrew Ward presents the first narrative of the Civil War supposedly told from the perspective of those whom it declared to free. Woven together from hundreds of interviews, diaries, letters, and memoirs, here is the Civil War as seen from not only battlefields, capitals, and camps, but also slave quarters, kitchens, roadsides, farms, towns, and swamps. Army cooks and launderers, runaways, teamsters, and gravediggers bring the war to vivid life.

From slaves’ theories about the causes of the war to their frank assessments of such major figures as Lincoln, Davis, Lee, and Grant; from their searing memories of the carnage of battle to their often startling attitudes toward masters and liberators alike; and from their initial jubilation at the Yankee invasion of the South to the crushing disappointment of the realities of trading one form of slavery for another.

There are huge problems with this work. The slaves were for the most part illiterate so the veracity of any and all of the source material is highly dubious. Second hand at best and heavily edited this “testimony” is of no more use from a historical point of view than the funeral orations made up by Shakespeare are in describing the murder of Julius Caesar. Also missing is any voice of dissent. There were both slaves and free blacks who fought for the South. Where are they? Not in this book!

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