Book Review: Gale Library Of Daily Life: American Civil War

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American Civil War: The Gale Library of Daily Life

The Gale Library of Daily Life: American Civil War gets five cannister balls!

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A new two-volume, 600 page set, titled – Gale Library of Daily Life: American Civil War – has just been published and it is a vital addition for the serious student of the American Civil War. The Gale Group sought submission from scholars and historians to complete this excellent resource with over 200 articles included in the set. The publisher is Gale Cenage Learning.

The two-volume set focuses on the daily life of soldiers and civilians, North and South, during the Civil War.

A key feature of the essays will be excerpts from first-person accounts to illustrate the lives of men, women, and children, including slaves and their families, during the epic conflict that shaped America.

The writers were able to access Gale Group’s proprietary database of primary resources including “memoirs, letters, diaries, newspaper accounts, excerpts from other published works.” Professor and prolific author-historian Steven E. Woodworth at Texas Christian University was the senior editor for the work and also wrote a few of the articles.

The set breaks down into nine major areas, with numerous sub-areas under these major headings. Volume 1 is broken down into four major categories: A Soldier’s Life, Family and Community, Religion, and Popular Culture. Volume 2 breaks down into five major categories: Health & Medicine, Work & Economy, Politics, Effects of the War on Slaves and Freedpeople.

The articles are well-written, readable and accessible, and expertly edited by Woodworth and the editorial team. Each article also lists 4-10 recommended reading sources at the end. There is also a very nice 10-page annotated bibliography in volume two.

There are a generous selection of original pictures or photos but not too many. There is also an eight-page chronology of the Civil War.

This two-volume set is a MUST for public libraries and should be a top priority for individuals who are serious about studying the Civil War. Subscribers to North & South Magazine or Civil War Times would be ideal readers of Gale Library of Daily Life: American Civil War.

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