Two sisters, one a staunch defender of the Union, the other a passionate advocate of the rebel cause, are traumatized by the divide the Civil War imposes. Thousands of orphans, scattered from Maine to New Orleans, learn the hard lessons of the war at an early age. Clinton urges us to reconsider this fatherless generation's devastating losses. The war's outcome was acrimoniously contested after Appomattox. The story of two South Carolina women, one black and one white, illuminates that fires of bitterness raged even after surrender.
Clinton suggests those on opposing sides sought to vindicate their losses and assert their rights by taking up the pen. The histories and memoirs she contrasts, the lives she reconstructs, and the stories she highlights provide appreciation of the cultural impact of the American Civil War, for those who endured it and for those of us who continue to be fascinated by its legacy.
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