Thursday, October 20, 2016

Booknotes: The Boy Soldier

New Arrival:
The Boy Soldier: Edwin Jemison and the Story Behind the Most Remarkable Portrait of the Civil War by Hugh T. Harrington and Alexandra Filipowski (Westholme, 2016).

The photographic portrait of Confederate Private Edwin Jemison is easily one of the most iconic Civil War images. The tragically fated soldier looks almost impossibly young, even among armies filled with youthful fighting men, and modern viewers of the photo find themselves moved in a variety of ways. From the description:
"Despite the great interest in the photograph almost nothing has been known of the young man himself, and misinformation about him has circulated since he was properly identified twenty years ago. The authors have spent decades researching the story behind the photograph seeking primary sources for accurate details of Jemison’s life. The result is The Boy Soldier: Edwin Jemison and the Story Behind the Most Remarkable Portrait of the Civil War, the only biography of this young Confederate soldier. We first encounter Eddie as he travels from Louisiana in 1857 to stay with relatives and attend school in Georgia. In the spring of 1861, after Louisiana had seceded from the Union, Eddie enlists in the Confederate army. A little over a week after enlistment, and with minimal training, he is sent to Virginia to fight in the greatest struggle this nation has ever endured. Over 150 years later the intrigue around his photograph is matched by the very peculiar accounts of his death, as well as the controversy of his burial location. The authors examine both issues to complete the story of the young soldier’s life and death."

1 comment:

  1. Who among us has not stared at this image wondering who this young man really was, and what his life was life?

    I will be reviewing this title for Civil War News. Finding enough reliable information about this one fellow to fill a book seems a nearly impossible task. Still, I hope it is as good as it promises.

    --Ted Savas

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