Living Hell



Many Americans, argues Michael C C Adams, tend to think of the Civil War as glorious, less awful, than the reality Millions of tourists flock to battlefields each year as vacation destinations, their perceptions of the war often shaped by reenactors who work hard for verisimilitude but who cannot ultimately simulate mutilation, madness, chronic disease, advanced physical decay In Living Hell, Adams tries a different tack, clustering the voices of myriad actual participants on the firing line or in the hospital ward to create a virtual historical reenactment.Perhaps because the United States has not seen conventional war on its own soil since 1865, the collective memory of its horror has faded, so that we have sanitized and romanticized even the experience of the Civil War Neither film nor reenactment can fully capture the hard truth of the four year conflict Living Hell presents a stark portrait of the human costs of the Civil War and gives readers a accurate appreciation of its profound and lasting consequences.Adams examines the sharp contrast between the expectations of recruits versus the realities of communal living, the enormous problems of dirt and exposure, poor diet, malnutrition, and disease He describes the slaughter produced by close order combat, the difficulties of cleaning up the battlefields where tens of thousands of dead and wounded often lay in an area of only a few square miles and the resulting psychological damage survivors experienced.Drawing extensively on letters and memoirs of individual soldiers, Adams assembles vivid accounts of the distress Confederate and Union soldiers faced daily sickness, exhaustion, hunger, devastating injuries, and makeshift hospitals where saws were often the medical instrument of choice.Inverting Robert E Lee s famous line about war, Adams suggests that too many Americans become fond of war out of ignorance of its terrors Providing a powerful counterpoint to Civil War glorification, Living Hell echoes William Tecumseh Sherman s comment that war is cruelty and cannot be refined.Praise for Our Masters the Rebels A Speculation on Union Military Failure in the East, 1861 1865 This excellent and provocative work concludes with a chapter suggesting how the image of Southern military superiority endured in spite of defeat Civil War History Adams s imaginative connections between culture and combat provide a forceful reminder that Civil War military history belongs not in an encapsulated realm, with its own categories and arcane language, but at the center of the study of the intellectual, social, and psychological currents that prevailed in the mid nineteenth century Journal of American HistoryPraise for The Best War Ever America and World War II Adams has a real gift for efficiently explaining complex historical problems Reviews in American History Not only is this mythologizing bad history, says Adams, it is dangerous as well Surrounding the war with an aura of nostalgia both fosters the delusion that war can cure our social ills and makes us strong again, and weakens confidence in our ability to act effectively in our own time Journal of Military History Best Read [ Living Hell ] By [ Michael C.C. Adams ] For Kindle ePUB or eBook – e17streets4all.co.ukLiving Hell

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  • Hardcover
  • 292 pages
  • Living Hell
  • Michael C.C. Adams
  • 03 October 2017
  • 1421412217

10 thoughts on “Living Hell

  1. says:

    Historian Michael C C Adams stated purpose in writing Living Hell is to remove from the American Civil War the romance and mythology of The Lost Cause if you favor the South as well as the Great Crusade to end slavery if you favor the North , and from both sides the view of the war as a grand and glorious affair, one that would elevate and ennoble the participants Adams destroys these illusions with page after page of first hand accounts of the people both combatants and civilians who suf Historian Michael C C Adams stated pur...

  2. says:

    Extremely interesting well researched telling of the horrors of the Civil War using letters and memoirs of individual soldiers as well as historic documentation The author, feeling Americans have come to think of the war as glorious, sanitized romanticized thanks to films and reenactments, decided to write about the realities of what happened during those hellish years The beginning chapter starts with the young, naive men heading off to fight for their cause then we follow th...

  3. says:

    The Dark side of the Civil War is exactly what you get with this book Not the battles, unless you want to read about the blood, brains, and guts of the battle, not the moonlight and magnolias of the Old South unless you want the destructions, murders and rapes and not the camp life with men singing the songs unless you want the disease ridden hardships How do you go about the burials of ten thousands of men How did the communities of Gettysburg, Fredericksburg and other cities and towns deal The Dark side of the Civil War is exactly what you get with this book Not the battles, unless you want to read about the blood, brains, and guts of the battle, not the moonlight and magnolias of the Old South unless you want the destructions, murders and rapes and not the camp life with men singing the songs unless you want the disease ridden har...

  4. says:

    This is the Civil War history we need, and it s the Civil War history we deserve It s one of the most apt titles I ve ever come across in a book The American Civil War is arguably the most romanticized event in American history, maybe secondly only to the Revolution The narrative is well known Johhny Reb, Billy Yank, the almost god like Robert E Lee as an aside, see Lee Considered foron this and the great struggle for states rights or to free the slaves Epic movies depicting the glo This is the Civil War history we need, and it s the Civil War history we deserve It s one of the most apt titles I ve ever come across in a book The American Civil War is arguably the most romanticized event in American history, maybe secondly only to the Revolution The narrative is well known Johhny Reb, Billy Yank, the almost god like Robert E Lee as an aside, see Lee Considered foron this and the great struggle for states rights or to free the slaves Epic movies depicting the glory and romance of Gettysburg, the 20th Maine s valiant defense at Little Round Top and the futile, reveling the glory of an entire division s destruction at Pickett s Charge The narrative is glory, romance and it s powerful Adams book infuses a much needed dose of reality These histories arefit to the first days of the war with battlefield picnics, brass bands and clean uniforms Adam s book is the bloody, muddy uniform with one pants leg pinned up It s the one vacant chair, the endless array of white t...

  5. says:

    I m using this as my book about war for the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge, but I primarily read it as research for a short story I m planning to write Living Hell is a wonderful piece of historical writing, with a balance between scholarly and literary tone I wish I could make everyone I ve ever heard espouse the South s gonna rise agai...

  6. says:

    This is a very well written book that thoroughly explores the lasting consequences of the American Civil War on the soldiers involved and the civilians of both the North and South It clearly states the devastating effects of war and seeks to dis...

  7. says:

    Odd to think that there could be a dark side I guess darker isaccurate to a war but this book really puts into perspective just what levels of hell the people living in America went through during the Civil War.

  8. says:

    Mention the Civil War and most people will envision sweeping battle scenes, cavalry charges, the Rebel yell, and the theme song to Gone With the Wind What they generally do not think of is the extreme hardships faced by soldier and civilian, North and South alike, the lasting damage done to the countryside, local economies, and to an entire generation s psyche Therein lies the importance of Michael C C Adams Living Hell.It is a human trait to romanticize the most extreme tragedies It is ho Mention the Civil War and most people will envision sweeping battle scenes, cavalry charges, the Rebel yell, and the theme song to Gone With the Wind What they generally do not think of is the extreme hardships faced by soldier and civilian, North and South alike, the lasting damage done to the countryside, local economies, and to an...

  9. says:

    If you read the review of this helpful book in the New York Review of Books, you ll discover that the author plays fast and loose with some of the facts, but it is true, true to the reality that there is no good war, and there is no bad peace Perhaps Adams has willfully maneuvered some facts about the battlefronts and the realities of the massive killing grounds that befouled our country Perhaps some of the conclusions that are reached such as an implication that slavery would have somehow b If you read the review of this helpful book in the New York Review of Books, you ll disc...

  10. says:

    One knows, of course, that there must have been psychological trauma in addition to the physical trauma of the Civil War and indeed of any war all our European ancestors, combatants and civilians, had intimate knowledge of such through plagues, frequent wars etc And indeed until the Napoleonic Wars there was no real conception of civilian non combatants Adams book, though short, gives a good overall view of these traumas, with chapters on the march, face t0 face combat, clearing the battle One knows, of course, that there must have been psychological trauma in addition to the physical trauma of the Civil War and indeed of any war all our European ancestors, combatants and civilians, had intimate knowledge of such through plagues, frequent wars etc And indeed until the Napoleonic Wars there was no real conception of civilian non combatants Adams book, though short, gives a good overall view of these traumas, with chapters on the march, face t0 face combat, clearing the battlefield of dead and wounded, etc, He makes these events vivid by fixing on one soldier s experience before detailing the general picture and frequent reference to The Red Badge of Courage, noting how it does expose classic examples of battle trauma The closing vignette of the Rough Riders traveling via train to embark for Cuba is all thepoignant for our greater understanding of how hellish war is the younger people, born after the Civil War, greet and ...

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