"A solid and wide-ranging contribution to a developing field of study."
—Times Literary Supplement
"A well-researched and serious work of history. Employing his expertise in statistics and political science to analyze 1,013 letters and diaries, Frank asks a relatively simple question: What motivated Civil War soldiers to fight?"
"A major contribution to a small but steadily growing body of work on Civil War soldiers . . . Frank has a particularly good sense of the internal dynamics of the war effort over time, and he is very concerned with dwelling on the concept of a people's war and a citizen army. Students of all these topics will greatly enjoy this book. His discussion of the South's debate over arming slaves is one of the best I have read. And no one can fault Frank for his grasp of political theory and the scholarship surrounding it (he is a political science professor), or for his wide understanding of other conflicts in the Western world that involved mass armies."
—Civil War History
Frank describes how political considerations motivated the soldiers and inspired the loyalty of the officers and men, assuring military cohesion. He reveals that these stalwart citizen soldiers remarkably remained true to the cause even as esprit de corps and small group bonding diminished, as new recruits replaced old comrades, and as old regiments were consolidated into new ones. His book relies on the letters and diaries of more than a thousand soldiers, with the author using social science categories for identifying politically aware soldiers and then defining and classifying the levels of political socialization.
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