Have you ever had the chance to talk
with Dr Peter S Carmichael? Well, here's your chance. Matt and Bob
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 mistaken.
How 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 rather how 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 war.
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.
”The War For the Common Soldier” is
published by UNC Press and can be purchased at