by Brian Matthew Jordan
New York: Liveright, W.W. Norton, 2015. Pp. x, 374.
Illus., notes, biblio., index. $28.95. ISBN: 0871407817
Billy Yank Comes Home
(Sam Houston State)
takes what is essentially the first serious look at the
complex experiences of the
in the postwar years.
He opens where most books on the Civil War
with the great victory parade in Washington
May 23rd and 24th, 1865.
Jordan then spends a chapter
on the ways in which the men
made their way
and another on their initial readjustment to civil life.
follows these men through the ensuing decades. While most of them readjusted to civil life more or less well, Jordan looks at the longer-term problems of reintegration. In a culture unsympathetic to disabilities and perceived “weakness,” many veterans had to cope with with physical disabilities, suffered from "Soldier's Disease" or "Nostalgia," what we now know as “PTSD”, had addiction problems, whether to drink or opiates, and often endured severe family tensions (Jordan oddly does not mention the elevated postwar divorce rate), and often struggled with the bureaucracy over pensions.
Jordan concludes the book with a look at the ways in which the
commemoration. Marching Home is a timely work, given our increasing understanding of the long term effects of combat on the human psyche.
Marching Home is also available in paperback, $18.95, ISBN 978-1-63149-146-7, and in several e-Pub and audiobook formats.