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Begin forwarded message:

> From: H-Net Staff via H-REVIEW <h-rev...@lists.h-net.org>
> Date: September 3, 2019 at 12:47:19 PM EDT
> To: h-rev...@lists.h-net.org
> Cc: H-Net Staff <revh...@mail.h-net.org>
> Subject: H-Net Review [H-CivWar]:  Levy on Broomall, 'Private Confederacies: 
> The Emotional Worlds of Southern Men as Citizens and Soldiers'
> Reply-To: h-rev...@lists.h-net.org
> 
> James J. Broomall.  Private Confederacies: The Emotional Worlds of 
> Southern Men as Citizens and Soldiers.  Chapel Hill  University of 
> North Carolina Press, 2019.  240 pp.  $29.95 (paper), ISBN 
> 978-1-4696-5198-9; $90.00 (cloth), ISBN 978-1-4696-4975-7.
> 
> Reviewed by Carolyn Levy (Pennsylvania State University)
> Published on H-CivWar (September, 2019)
> Commissioned by G. David Schieffler
> 
> James J. Broomall brings a new form of analysis to Civil War 
> historiography by drawing on methodologies of emotions history and 
> gender history in order to better understand the mentalities and 
> experiences of Confederate soldiers during the American Civil War. 
> _Private Confederacies: The Emotional Worlds of Southern Men as 
> Citizens and Soldiers _details how Confederate men, raised in the 
> culture of the antebellum South that demanded men control their 
> emotions and restrain themselves, struggled to comprehend the 
> overwhelming emotional experiences of the Civil War. Broomhall argues 
> that Confederate soldiers learned to cope with difficult wartime 
> experiences through the creation of "emotional communities" of fellow 
> soldiers on whom they could rely for support (p. 2). When the war 
> ended with the defeat of the Confederacy, these Southern men 
> recreated the emotional communities they had forged during the war 
> through veteran reunions and paramilitary groups. Broomhall contends 
> that Confederate veterans' emotional responses to the Confederacy's 
> loss--their anger and resentment toward the Union victory and their 
> nostalgia for the past--fueled their desire to restore a Southern 
> social order that would reinforce white supremacy. 
> 
> Chapter 1, "Words," begins before the onset of the Civil War in order 
> to establish how Southern men expressed their emotions and thoughts 
> during the antebellum era. Broomhall relies heavily on diaries as a 
> means of understanding the feelings and identities of his subjects. 
> He contends that diaries are an important source for this research 
> because they provided Southern men an avenue for free thought and 
> expression. However, some readers may find Broomhall's reliance on 
> diaries problematic due to his assumptions about the honesty of 
> expression in these writings. Broomhall does acknowledge some of the 
> shortcomings of his source base, and the examples he provides are 
> compelling. Ultimately, the first chapter does an excellent job of 
> setting up the narrative of the monograph.  
> 
> Chapter 2, "Soldiers," discusses the new environments Southern men 
> faced when the war began. Broomhall argues that few historians have 
> paid proper attention to the relationship between soldiers and their 
> uniforms; he also argues that scholars have not fully considered the 
> effects of the camps and fields on soldiers' mentalities. He contends 
> that uniforms, camps, and new living quarters all affected the 
> emotions and identities of Confederate soldiers. The shared 
> experiences of messes and regimental companies bonded soldiers, 
> helping to create the emotional communities that would help Southern 
> men survive the challenges of camps and battles.  
> 
> Chapter 3," details how Confederate soldiers responded to the battles 
> of the war. There was no universal Confederate response to the 
> horrors seen on the battlefield. Records of soldiers' responses to 
> battle, injury, and death demonstrate a mix of depression, anxiety, 
> and uncertainty mixed with expressions of duty, honor, and ideology. 
> This chapter provides numerous examples that demonstrate soldiers' 
> various attempts to capture the details of their experience. 
> Broomhall highlights how some took on a detached tone to try to 
> explain situations, while others expressed the impossibility of 
> explaining what they had witnessed. As one soldier wrote, "You cannot 
> imagine my feelings" (p. 83). Broomhall argues that historians have 
> paid far more attention to soldiers' behavior as a means of 
> understanding how they reacted to battle, but he believes that more 
> attention needs to be paid to expressions of emotion.  
> 
> Chapter 4, "Demobilization," and chapter 5, "Reconstructions" discuss 
> the end of the war and the transition Southern men went through as 
> they grappled with the end of the Confederacy and changes in Southern 
> society. Broomhall considers three entwined points, "soldiers' 
> personal traumas, veterans' initial shift from soldier to citizen, 
> and fluctuating notions of manliness seen at the war's close," as 
> well as how men attempted to resolve these difficulties (p. 11). 
> Broomhall discusses how the end of the war left Southern men feeling 
> emotionally depleted and frustrated. Some returned home to resume 
> their prewar lives peacefully while others lashed out, but the 
> emotions the soldiers felt and expressed during the war did not 
> simply vanish when it ended. The emotional communities created during 
> the war remained strong, as seen in the creation of veterans' 
> communities. Broomhall demonstrates that these communities became 
> essential to veterans and provided them with a means of solace. These 
> same communities also gave rise to the Lost Cause mythology.   
> 
> Chapter 6, "Violence," discusses white Southerners' reactions to the 
> collapse of the antebellum South's social and racial order. The 
> Confederacy's loss coupled with the possibility of black equality 
> presented an enormous threat to white Southerners who wanted to 
> reestablish the prewar Southern order. Broomhall argues that the Ku 
> Klux Klan represented a new emotional community comprised of terror, 
> fear, and anger. Analyzing the KKK as an emotional community provides 
> a new means of understanding how members of the emotional communities 
> of soldiers transitioned to new communities of enraged, violent men. 
> Similar bonds of brotherhood that bound soldiers of the Confederacy 
> together also brought members of the KKK together. The members of the 
> KKK then used their hatred and racism as a means of regaining 
> political power and control over labor.  
> 
> Ultimately, _Private Confederacies _makes a strong case for the need 
> to incorporate analyses of soldiers' emotions into the history of the 
> American Civil War. Broomhall's discussions of the emotional 
> communities of soldiers, veterans, and members of the KKK demonstrate 
> how emotions history can provide greater insight into the bonds 
> Southern men forged throughout the Civil War era. His analysis of the 
> transition from citizen to soldier to veteran shows the wide variety 
> of emotional responses to the war. These responses provide new depth 
> and complexity to scholars' understanding of the culture of the Civil 
> War and its aftermath. 
> 
> Citation: Carolyn Levy. Review of Broomall, James J., _Private 
> Confederacies: The Emotional Worlds of Southern Men as Citizens and 
> Soldiers_. H-CivWar, H-Net Reviews. September, 2019.
> URL: https://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=53875
> 
> This work is licensed under a Creative Commons 
> Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States 
> License.
> 
> 
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