Friday, December 1, 2017

Fighting Means Killing

Two well-known studies examine in particular the experience of Civil War combat, Gerald Linderman's seminal Embattled Courage: The Experience of Combat in the American Civil War (1987) and more recently The Union Soldier in Battle: Enduring the Ordeal of Combat (1997) by Earl Hess. The topic was also discussed in Brent Nosworthy's 2003 tome The Bloody Crucible of Courage: Fighting Methods and Combat Experience of the Civil War. Next summer, University Press of Kansas (which also published Hess's book) and author Jonathan M. "if you trick him into saying his name backwards, he is banished to the 5th dimension" Steplyk will narrow the focus and delve even deeper into the topic.

Steplyk's Fighting Means Killing: Civil War Soldiers and the Nature of Combat will be the "first book-length study of Union and Confederate soldiers’ attitudes toward, and experiences of, killing in the Civil War."

The rest of the description: "Drawing upon letters, diaries, and postwar reminiscences, Steplyk examines what soldiers and veterans thought about killing before, during, and after the war. How did these soldiers view sharpshooters? How about hand-to-hand combat? What language did they use to describe killing in combat? What cultural and societal factors influenced their attitudes? And what was the impact of race in battlefield atrocities and bitter clashes between white Confederates and black Federals? These are the questions that Steplyk seeks to answer in Fighting Means Killing, a work that bridges the gap between military and social history—and that shifts the focus on the tragedy of the Civil War from fighting and dying for cause and country to fighting and killing."

I'll be putting this one on the list of my most highly anticipated titles of next year.

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