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CONTENT WARNING: Soldiers in
the Civil War were young men. Young men use foul language and do
some pretty messed up stuff. We touch on some subjects that might
not be approriate for young ears or people who can't handle the
facts of life. Listener discretion is advised.
you ever had the chance to talk with Dr. Peter S. Carmichael? Well,
Bob and I did it for you. We discuss The War For The Common Soldier...
with Dr Carmichael. If you think
this is just another book about eating hardtack and what soldiers
carried in their knapsacks, you're gravely
did Civil War soldiers endure the brutal and unpredictable
existence of army life during the conflict? This question is at the
heart of Peter S. Carmichael's sweeping new study of men at war.
Based on close examination of the letters and records left behind
by individual soldiers from both the North and the South,
Carmichael explores the totality of the Civil War experience--the
marching, the fighting, the boredom, the idealism, the exhaustion,
the punishments, and the frustrations of being away from families
who often faced their own dire circumstances. Carmichael focuses
not on what
soldiers thought but
they thought. In doing so, he
reveals how, to the shock of most men, well-established notions of
duty or disobedience, morality or immorality, loyalty or
disloyalty, and bravery or cowardice were blurred by
Digging deeply into his soldiers' writing, Carmichael
resists the idea that there was "a common soldier" but looks into
their own words to find common threads in soldiers' experiences and
ways of understanding what was happening around them. In the end,
he argues that a pragmatic philosophy of soldiering emerged,
guiding members of the rank and file as they struggled to live with
the contradictory elements of their violent and volatile world.
Soldiering in the Civil War, as Carmichael argues, was never a
state of being but a process of becoming.