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Living Hell: The Dark Side of the Civil War…
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Living Hell: The Dark Side of the Civil War (utgåvan 2014)

av Michael C. C. Adams Adams

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
782261,623 (3.5)2
Many Americans, argues Michael C. C. Adams, think of the Civil War as more glorious, less awful, than the reality. Tourists flock to battlefields, their perceptions of the war often shaped by reenactors who work hard for verisimilitude but who cannot ultimately simulate the horrors of war. In Living Hell, Adams uses the voices of actual participants on the firing line or in the hospital ward to create a virtual historical reenactment. Perhaps because the United States has not seen conventional war on its own soil since 1865, the collective memory has faded, so that we have sanitized and romanticized the experience of the Civil War. Living Hell presents a stark portrait of the human costs of the Civil War and gives readers a more accurate appreciation of its profound and lasting consequences. Adams examines the sharp contrast between the expectations of recruits versus the realities of dirt and exposure, poor diet, malnutrition, and disease. He describes the slaughter produced by close-order combat, the difficulties of cleaning up the battlefields-- often tens of thousands of dead and wounded--and the resulting psychological damage to survivors. Drawing extensively on letters and memoirs of individual soldiers, Adams assembles vivid accounts of the distress they faced daily. Providing a powerful counterpoint to Civil War glorification, Living Hell echoes William Tecumseh Sherman's comment that war is cruelty and cannot be refined.--Publisher information.… (mer)

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Certainly address the " dark side" of the war. Deals with multiple topics, most prominently the catastrophic effects of disease and wounds and the inability of the medical community to keep pace. Also speaks to other areas often overlooked such as the widespread sexual exploitation of civilians - both white and black. Well worth adding to your Civil War reading list. ( )
  VGAHarris | Jan 19, 2015 |
Mention the Civil War and most people will envision sweeping battle scenes, cavalry charges, the Rebel yell, and the theme song to Gone With the Wind. What they generally do not think of is the extreme hardships faced by soldier and civilian, North and South alike, the lasting damage done to the countryside, local economies, and to an entire generation’s psyche. Therein lies the importance of Michael C. C. Adams’ Living Hell.

It is a human trait to romanticize the most extreme tragedies. It is how humans recover from experiencing the worst we can inflict on each other. It was done after World War I and World War II and especially after the Civil War. We know war is awful, but we gloss over the true extent of its terribleness and focus instead on an idealized image of soldiers marching off to glory and returning, battered and filthy but alive, to a hero’s welcome. With its use of actual letters and first-person accounts of eyewitnesses, Living Hell walks readers through a soldier’s evolution from excited and eager recruit to physically disfigured and mentally damaged soldier and the lasting trauma for soldier and family members alike. It is a brutal picture of the disgusting chaos of the soldiers’ camps, the absolute horror wrought by new battle techniques and weaponry, the complete abandonment of any wartime conventions and the psychological impact of total war. He covers the unimaginable scenes in Army hospitals, the gruesome sites of the countryside after a battle, and much, much worse. It is as realistic a picture of what the Civil War was like as one can get, and it is not pretty.

To be fair, most people understand that war is never pretty, and the Civil War was as bad as it could get. However, what sets Living Hell apart is that Adams puts aside the rose-tinted glasses that comes with the passage of time to show the true hardships by using eyewitness documentation. He lets the soldiers and civilians speak for themselves, and it is a stark picture indeed.

Separated into sections such as camp life, battles, post-battle details, the challenges facing the injured, civilian life, and the mental damage from total war, Living Hell delves into the details of each main topic and does so without obscuring anything. This means that this book is most definitely not for the faint-of-heart or easily disturbed. Readers should be careful about eating before, during, or after reading any section because it is as gruesome as gruesome can get.

Every aspect of Living Hell is horrifying and yet so utterly fascinating. Adams’ use of soldiers’ own words is particularly effective, as they leave nothing to the imagination in their correspondence or diary entries. War is not sexy, and war is not kind. Anyone who thinks so needs to read Living Hell for an excellent look at the hellishness of modern warfare before, during, and long after the war’s end.
2 rösta jmchshannon | Mar 13, 2014 |
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Many Americans, argues Michael C. C. Adams, think of the Civil War as more glorious, less awful, than the reality. Tourists flock to battlefields, their perceptions of the war often shaped by reenactors who work hard for verisimilitude but who cannot ultimately simulate the horrors of war. In Living Hell, Adams uses the voices of actual participants on the firing line or in the hospital ward to create a virtual historical reenactment. Perhaps because the United States has not seen conventional war on its own soil since 1865, the collective memory has faded, so that we have sanitized and romanticized the experience of the Civil War. Living Hell presents a stark portrait of the human costs of the Civil War and gives readers a more accurate appreciation of its profound and lasting consequences. Adams examines the sharp contrast between the expectations of recruits versus the realities of dirt and exposure, poor diet, malnutrition, and disease. He describes the slaughter produced by close-order combat, the difficulties of cleaning up the battlefields-- often tens of thousands of dead and wounded--and the resulting psychological damage to survivors. Drawing extensively on letters and memoirs of individual soldiers, Adams assembles vivid accounts of the distress they faced daily. Providing a powerful counterpoint to Civil War glorification, Living Hell echoes William Tecumseh Sherman's comment that war is cruelty and cannot be refined.--Publisher information.

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