Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Booknotes: Bushwhackers

New Arrival:
Bushwhackers: Guerrilla Warfare, Manhood, and the Household in Civil War Missouri by Joseph M. Beilein Jr. (Kent St Univ Pr, 2016).

This is an interesting looking social, military, cultural, and material study of Missouri bushwhackers. Beilein "looks at the ways in which several different bands of guerrillas across Missouri conducted their war in concert with their households and their female kin who provided logistical support in many forms." He also "provides a close examination of how these warriors imagined themselves as fighters, offering a brand-new interpretation that gets us closer to seeing how the men and women who participated in the war in Missouri must have understood it."
"Beilein answers some of the tough questions: Why did men fight as guerrillas? Where did their tactics come from? What were their goals? Why were they so successful? Bushwhackers demonstrates that the guerrilla war in Missouri was not just an opportunity to settle antebellum feuds, nor was it [ed.: like historian Michael Fellman argued in his classic study "Inside War"] some collective plummet by society into a state of chaotic bloodshed. Rather, the guerrilla war was the only logical response by men and women in Missouri, and one that was more in keeping with their worldview than the conventional warfare of the day."

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