The Slaves' War
The Civil War in the Words of Former Slaves
By Andrew Ward
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Hardcover, 9780618634002, 400pp.)
Publication Date: June 2008
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The first narrative history of the Civil War told by the very people it freed
Groundbreaking, compelling, and poignant, The Slaves’ War delivers an unprecedented vision of the nation’s bloodiest conflict. An acclaimed historian of nineteenth-century and African-American history, Andrew Ward gives us the first narrative of the Civil War told from the perspective of those whose destiny it decided. 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. Speaking in a quintessentially American language of wit, candor, and biblical power, 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 slave South to the crushing disappointment of freedom’s promise unfulfilled, The Slaves’ War is a transformative and engrossing vision of America’s Second Revolution.
A former commentator for National Public Radio and an essayist for the Atlantic Monthly and the Washington Post, ANDREW WARD is a distinguished historian of nineteenth-century and African American history. He is the author of several award-winning works of history, including Our Bones Are Scattered, Dark Midnight When I Rise, and River Run Red. He lives in Davis, California.
"This is a riveting book about the most important event in our history . . . readable and compelling." --Ken Burns