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The Resource In the presence of mine enemies : war in the heart of America, 1859-1863, Edward L. Ayers

In the presence of mine enemies : war in the heart of America, 1859-1863, Edward L. Ayers

Label
In the presence of mine enemies : war in the heart of America, 1859-1863
Title
In the presence of mine enemies
Title remainder
war in the heart of America, 1859-1863
Statement of responsibility
Edward L. Ayers
Creator
Subject
Language
eng
Member of
Review
  • /* Starred Review */ Two counties, one in Virginia and one in Pennsylvania, are united by the vast Shenandoah Valley, but divided by the Mason-Dixon line. As late as 1859, these border counties, and by extension their respective states, saw themselves not on opposite sides of a divided nation but as the historic and contemporary heart of a country where such forces as a shared history and a common language made civil war inconceivable. The inhabitants of both counties initially prided themselves on resisting provocation by fire-eaters in the far North and the deep South. Ironically, they eventually committed themselves fully, sacrificing blood and wealth unstintingly to a conflict few of them welcomed. That process, however, was by no means straightforward, as Ayers (The Promise of the New South ) brilliantly shows. If Confederate supporters in Augusta County, Va., ultimately accepted slavery as the touchstone of their social order, they also insisted they were fighting for the right to be left alone, free of a Northern influence perceived as increasingly alien. Their counterparts in Pennsylvania's Franklin County went to war not to destroy slavery but to prevent the South from destroying the Union by leaving it. Emancipation grew from the contingencies of war—and not the least of these was the increasing determination of black Americans to take charge of their own destinies, thereby challenging at its roots the social contract established by the revolution of 1776. Ayers tells his complex story with a master's touch, shifting smoothly between North and South, and between the lesser worlds of his two counties and the wider events of the war that changed them both utterly. He pauses with Lee's invasion of Pennsylvania in 1863, just before the Battle of Gettysburg—a decision both intellectually and aesthetically satisfying. This volume lays the groundwork; we are left to anticipate the climax and the denouement to be presented in its successor. (Sept.) --Staff (Reviewed May 26, 2003) (Publishers Weekly, vol 250, issue 21, p57)
  • /* Starred Review */ Ayers (Hugh P. Kelly Professor of History, Univ. of Virgina; The Promise of the New South ) covers the early Civil War histories of two border counties in the Great Valley spanning Pennsylvania and Virginia: Franklin (Chambersburg) and Augusta (Staunton), respectively. This first volume of his case study, sponsored by the University of Virginia's Valley of the Shadow Project, treats the lives of ordinary citizens who had initially opposed the concept of disunion and then, swept along by national events, embraced both secession and its armed resistance with fanatical zeal. From First Manassas to Chancellorsville, the author delves into what the war's dire consequences meant to these communities: loss of life, impressment of slaves and commodities, economic dislocation, human privation, political infighting, and intolerance, as reflective of a suffering nation. Ayers insightfully observes that Franklin residents waged war to maintain connection with a slaveocracy they despised, while Augusta's population risked all in order to secure "property rights" that had never been challenged in any concrete way. He concludes that the secret of the Civil War was that so many Americans wanted it to come to demonstrate that they held God's favor. This original and gracefully written work, based on exhaustive primary research, should be required reading for Civil War enthusiasts and scholars alike. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 5/15/03.]—John Carver Edwards, Univ. of Georgia Lib., Athens --John Carver Edwards (Reviewed June 15, 2003) (Library Journal, vol 128, issue 11, p84)
  • /* Starred Review */ A first-rate study of the origins and early years of the Civil War, focusing on neighboring communities North and South.Drawing on a trove of documentary materials rich enough to make an annaliste swoon, Ayers (History/Univ. of Virginia; The Promise of the New South, 1992) delivers a unique portrait of two towns in the great valley that stretches "from Vermont all the way into Tennessee" that were, as those who lived there recognized, alike in many ways—yet crucially different in others. On the southern side stands Staunton, Virginia, a handsome agricultural town whose slave population was only beginning to grow in 1859, slaves having hitherto been important mostly to the lowland economy; on the northern side stands Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, not far from Staunton as the crow flies—and, in 1859, not far apart in other ways, notably its inhabitants' opposition to abolitionism. Yet, as Ayers carefully documents, for whatever misgivings they may have had about the conflict between the two regions, both towns threw their all into the war between North and South; by the end both had been bled dry, but even in the early days of the war, boys and young men from Staunton and Chambersburg saw hard combat. Ayers explores a number of fascinating avenues, each of which would sustain a doctoral thesis or two: the reaction of Chambersburg's African-American population to news of the Emancipation Proclamation, after which many went to Massachusetts to enlist in the famed, ill-fated 54th Regiment; the role of northern transplants such as the schoolmaster Jed Hotchkiss in settling western Virginia and defending it against other northerners ("[Stonewall] Jackson and Robert E. Lee soon came to trust Hotchkiss completely and rely on his maps, knowledge, energy, and advice"); the complicated politics of abolition in the north and the widespread dislike of Lincoln on free soil, with many northerners fearing that Lincoln's policies would only "unite and exasperate the whites of the South in their resistance to the National Government, and to make the war still more prolonged, bloody and bitter"; and the day-to-day conduct of the war in the Great Valley and its effects on its residents.Top-drawer American history, especially for Civil War buffs. (Kirkus Reviews, June 15, 2003)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
163845
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorDate
1953-
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Ayers, Edward L.
Illustrations
  • illustrations
  • maps
Index
index present
Literary form
non fiction
Nature of contents
bibliography
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
Series statement
The valley of the shadow project
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • United States
  • Shenandoah River Valley (Va. and W. Va.)
  • Pennsylvania
  • Virginia
  • Franklin County (Pa.)
  • Augusta County (Va.)
  • United States
http://bibfra.me/vocab/lite/titleRemainder
war in the heart of America, 1859-1863
Label
In the presence of mine enemies : war in the heart of America, 1859-1863, Edward L. Ayers
Instantiates
Publication
Copyright
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references and index
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
457218
Dimensions
25 cm.
Edition
First edition.
Extent
xxi, 472 pages
Isbn
9780393057867
Isbn Type
(hardcover)
Lccn
2002015989
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Other physical details
illustrations, maps
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780393057867
  • (Sirsi) ADK-1792
Label
In the presence of mine enemies : war in the heart of America, 1859-1863, Edward L. Ayers
Publication
Copyright
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references and index
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
457218
Dimensions
25 cm.
Edition
First edition.
Extent
xxi, 472 pages
Isbn
9780393057867
Isbn Type
(hardcover)
Lccn
2002015989
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Other physical details
illustrations, maps
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780393057867
  • (Sirsi) ADK-1792

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