Civil War Book Review: Human Interest Stories of the Civil War

by James Durney on May 4, 2011 · 0 comments

Human Interest Stories of the Civil War
by Scott L. Mingus Jr. & Dr. Thomas M. Mingus

A Glorious Army: Robert E. Lee's Triumph 1862-1863 by Jeffry D. Wert

Product Details

  • Paperback: 150 pages
  • Publisher: Ten Roads Publishing, LLC. (December 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0982527551
  • ISBN-13: 978-0982527559

Connecting to the Civil War

150 years is a long time for a family.  Any family member in the Civil War is at least a great great something for a person in their 60s.  My son can connect to World War II and Viet Nam.  His Grandfather was at Pearl Harbor, a Great Uncle went ashore at Normandy and I was in Viet Nam.  We knew people and have family members that fought in these wars; it is a real physical connection to the events.

It is almost impossible for us to do this with the Civil War.  I knew one person who had an ancestor with the 20th Maine on Little Round Top.  The closest he could get was stories from his father about hearing his grandfather talk about hearing the stories.  Without people, the regiments become numbers and the brigades become names.  The people are only words on a page, pixels on a screen or cardboard counters on a map.  We lose the flesh and blood connection that makes this history personal and real.

This book draws us back to the people.  Organized in yearly chapters are stories of people and incidents occurring that year.  All are true.  The stories gleaned from regimental histories, newspapers or park archives.  Each is less than a page and many are only a paragraph.  This makes for a glimpse of a person or group at a specific event.  Some are happy, some are funny, some are sad.  Much is the rough and ready humor of a soldier’s life.  However, each shows us the people being people.  While the book will not put faces on the ranks, it will give us a feeling for the men that filled those ranks.  This book bestows humanity on those words, pixels or counters and reminds us they were just like ourselves.  In reading this book, we establish a personal connection to these people that makes their history more real and more enjoyable.


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