Item description for Blood, Tears, & Glory: How Ohioans Won the Civil War by James H. Bissland...
It's the greatest untold story of the Civil War, .and one of the newest. For 150 years, the battlefields of Virginia, Gettysburg, and Antietam were what Americans thought of first when they thought of the Civil War. Wrong. While Easterners were battling to a bloody stalemate, Midwestern farmers, shopkeepers, and country lawyers fighting elsewhere were shaping the war's outcome. Dismissed by haughty Easterners as "armed rabble or "drunkards," these citizen-soldiers, white and black, often were poorly trained and poorly equipped--but they were tough, confident, and supported by strong women who found their own ways to get into the fight. And the Midwesterners included most of the Union's top generals. From brilliant, if flawed, commanders to feisty enlisted men who were hard to discipline but hard to scare, Blood, Tears, & Glory tells powerful stories of the war, many for the first time, and all from a new point of view.
From The Book Jacket In April 1862, Private Joseph Diltz wrote his wife in Ohio about the battle he had just survived: I went into the fight in good heart, but I never want to get in another. It was awful, Mary. You can't form any idea how it was.But Diltz and others kept fighting until the American Civil War was won, the nation restored, and the promise of equality, liberty and justice for all saved. But we, too, find it hard to form an idea of "how it was." That's because half of the American Civil War-the most important half-was underappreciated while it was happening, and since then has largely been neglected. Preoccupied with battles in Virginia and the bloody three days at Gettysburg, Americans have failed to realize how the war was decided in the Western Theater by Midwesterners-Ohioans most of all.Scorned by Easterners as "armed rabble" and largely out of sight of the big Eastern media, the Midwest's tough but poorly trained and supplied farmers, schoolteachers, and country lawyers won battle after battle. In the East, meanwhile, the handsomely prepared Army of the Potomac was humiliated so often by the Confederates that Midwestern generals, Ulysses S. Grant, William Tecumseh Sherman, and Philip H. Sheridan (all with Ohio roots) had to come east to finish the war.In leading the Union to victory, they joined other Midwesterners: President Abraham Lincoln of Illinois, and Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton and Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase, both Ohioans..The war did more than save the Union and free the slaves. It preserved the heart of the "American Dream," the promise that each of us has an equal opportunity to get ahead, choose our government, and obtain equal justice. It is that promise that creates the "optimism that is our oxygen," as historian Douglas Brinkley puts it.In Blood, Tears, and Glory, Dr. James Bissland shares the amazing stories of one of America's greatest-and, until now, underappreciated-generations--a generation that saved the American Dream.
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Reviews - What do customers think about Blood, Tears, & Glory: How Ohioans Won the Civil War?
Excellent Book Apr 16, 2008
This is an excellent Civil War book from a narrative standpoint. It is one of the best and most compelling I have read. It digs out great story nuggets about Ohioans in the Civil War, and admirably presents the thesis that the war was first one in the West. Recommended to anyone.
Great Read! Brings History Alive! Nov 25, 2007
I'm not much of a Civil War buff, but I got a copy of this book as a gift right before Thanksgiving and it was a quick, wonderful experience. General Sherman was right . . . WAR IS HELL! The details on how bloody this Civil War was and what led up to this dramatic cross-roads in our nation's history makes it very valuable reading. Ohioans and those from the midwest (called the West then) played the pivotal roles in this war. Being the "smartest" wasn't always the best when it came to picking the right Generals and planning a good strategy. Sounds like some recent history in America! Lincoln had his struggles in this war. There are lots of good details on the personalities and styles to make things very interesting as well as informative. Suggest it highly if you like American history.
A Good Read for Ohioans Nov 20, 2007
I have at least four ancestors who fought in Ohio regiments, so I was excited to pick up this book. It provides a wonderful overview of the people (military, civilian, politician) and places that became important before, during, and after the Civil War. The book covers a lot of ground so there are no in-depth descriptions, but I enjoyed it nevertheless. It has many citatations from newspapers, diaries, first-person accounts, and other original sources. I appreciate the Web page references that end chapters. It has lots of illustrations and an easy-reading style. It's 600 pages but the text is large and widely-spaced.
It suffers problems that I'll attribute to lackluster editing from the small publisher. I found some page numbers missing... not the text, just the page numbers (page 90 has no number, and there are no pages marked 91 and 92). An island in the Mississippi is called "Island Number Tenth" and then later "Island Number Ten," and isn't listed in the index at all. The brief phrases used to tag various people are often repeated, sometimes in separate chapters and sometimes on the next page. For example, page 347, "with Meade only nominally in charge..." and page 348, "Meade would remain head--nominally--of the army..."
In spite of these issues, I'm enjoying this book and I'm glad to have it.
A real treasure! Oct 15, 2007
This is a superb, work -- in league with the best historical writers of our day in both substance and style. Bissland has done his homework in crafting a spell-binding glimpse of Ohio's significant role in the Civil War.
I found his character descriptions to be most insightful and colorful. The depictions of Grant, Steedman, Rosecrans, and John Brown were especially riveting. His short bios of the main players were rich with detail and fresh anecdotes. They were never dry and plain -- always juicy and enticing. I loved the alliterative description of Brown as " an avenging angel on assignment from God. I didn't wanting to stop reading in the midst of any new character description.
The author is almost poetic in his economical painting of snippets, often catching the reader off guard, e.g., "small conflicts flickered on the horizon like heat lightening" and my favorite: depicting Foote's gunboats as "enormous Hostess Twinkies with quills."
The work is well-researched and appropriately documented, using an array of fascinating primary sources, including many diaries and early newpaper accounts. While the book subtitle suggests a narrow geographic view, I highly recommend this book to those beyond the midwest.