Book Review: The American Civil War: The Soldier's Story


by Hans Halberstadt

Washington: Brassey's, 2001. Pp. 128. Illus., biblio. $19.95 paper. ISBN: 1-57488-490-5

In The Civil War: The Soldier's Story, Halberstadt uses the same technique as in his many other books, such as Battle Rattle: The Stuff a Soldier Carries (2006) and Inside the Great Tanks (1998).  Mixing period photographs, drawings,  and engravings with modern images of re-enactors, supplemented by a concise, readable text, he examines the life of the ordinary soldier on both sides

Topics covered include everything from entering the service, whether by volunteering or, as particularly was the case for most Confederate troops, conscription, military organization, uniforms and equipment, training, and service in the several arms.  In this way Halberstadt follows the soldier's life in camp, on the march, and in battle battle.  The main text is supplemented by numerous side-bars that provide a look at military humor of the day, outlines of several actions, anecdotes, and more.  As a bonus, Halberstadt adds two letters by Union Brig. Gen. Henry Naglee, possibly the most romantic or scandalous officer in either army. 

A handy book for the seasoned student of the war, The Civil War: The Soldier's Story would make a very good gift for someone new to the subject or for a younger person.
Reviewer: A. A. Nofi   

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