When Will This Cruel War Be Over? The Civil War Diary of Emma Simpson
There is a saying that goes something like "history is written by the winners." One of the good things about this Dear America series of books is that they are not always concerned with the winners, but with also showing what the people on the losing side of an issue had to deal with.
The American Civil War was the bloodiest war in U.S. history, where families were torn apart, sometimes one brother fighting on one side and the another brother on the other. It is still referred to as "The War of Northern Aggression" by many people in the South.
The Southern states wanted the right to make their own decisions about things, while Northern states held that the Union needed to remain together. Ending slavery was another point of severe contention between people in the North and the South.
No war had been fought on American soil for over fifty years at the time. People did not understand just exactly how horrible war could be, and they definitely did not understand about the technological changes in weaponry that had developed.
The result was that the war started with people thinking it would be over soon and it wouldn't be that horrible; instead the war ran on for years with thousands of men being killed in a battle at a time.
It was not only the soldiers that suffered, though; it was also the ordinary people who had families that lost brothers and fathers to the war. Women left behind would have to do the best they could to maintain their homes, and it became more and more difficult for those in the South to do so as the war went on. This book is an excellent examination of those difficulties, bringing the war "up close and personal," as the popular saying goes.
We see how hard people will struggle to try to keep things as they were, but sometimes have to face the fact that some things will change like it or not. This novel shows the kinds of suffering ordinary people went through due to the effects of the war; loss of home, food, clothing, friends, sometimes even their lives. There are incidents that happen that would be termed grounds for "war crimes trials" today, but this was before there was any kind of written code about how soldiers and armies should act towards non-combatants in a war.
As with the other books in this series, this book contains a short section on historical notes and pictures of the war. This is definitely a must-read for anyone interested in the Civil War and how it affected the average person in the South.
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