Chandra Manning's What This Cruel War Was Over

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What This Cruel War Was Over evaluates the American Civil War through the eyes of both northern and southern soldiers. By examining the conflict through this lens, Chandra Manning delivers a narrative with intricacies that explore an in-depth perspective to a greater degree than other authors have in the past. Revealing how men thought about slavery and the Civil War frames her book, and the examples she utilizes to fulfill her goal in arguing her thesis conveys an original body of work. Additionally, several of the concepts established in the author’s book are also discussed through various methods in other books. Manning’s book covers several aspects of the Civil War; however, she clearly states that “This book is about what ordinary…show more content…
While she does not adopt instances of amputation as a loss of manhood as Megan Kate Nelson does in her book, she uses the issue of slavery to illustrate the concept of manhood instead, stating, “The purpose of slavery, from the perspective of the nonslaveholding southern soldier, had less to do with the wealth that it generated for owners and more to do with assuring the identity of white southern men.” (Manning, 210; Nelson, 160) In discussing manhood in more nuanced terms, Manning reveals more about her argument; however, Nelson also exhibits this by stating that “The silence of manly suffering was an extension of political and national affiliation.” (Nelson,…show more content…
The author of What This Cruel War Was Over does not primarily focus on women in her book, but she does mention that “Few things could more effectively make nineteenth-century white men, North or South, feel that their society was under attack than questioning the behavior or morality of white women,” in considering women’s treatment of Union soldiers. (Manning, 62) In a contradictory statement, Faust notes that “With words, gestures, chamber pots, and even, on occasion, pistols, white women assaulted the enemy in ways that many Southerners celebrated as heroic testimony to female courage and patriotism.” (Faust, 198) These two authors’ research has led them on two very separate paths; however, both used women’s treatment of Union soldiers to further their

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