SINGING THE NEW NATION: HOW MUSIC SHAPED THE CONFEDERACY, 1861 - 1865 by E. Lawrence Abel
Singing the New Nation: How Music Shaped the Confederacy, 1861 - 1865 by E. Lawrence Abel
The Civil War is America's romantic war. Countless novels, movies, plays, poems, lithographs, and paintings portray the titanic clash of vast armies of men in colorful uniforms. Historians continue to debate the fascinating "what-ifs" of the war and to scrutinize the personalities of its larger-than-life leaders.
There is another aspect of the Civil War, however, that has less to do with its monumental events and more to do with how the war's heralded and unheralded participants expressed their private thoughts and collective passions. The battlefield was the ultimate arbiter of the factional dispute, but at its roots the civil War was a profound emotional confrontation. While both sides cared deeply for the intellectual principles that buttressed their partisan positions, the civil War was not about abstract intellectual principles. It was about feelings and emotions.
Both sides expressed these feelings and emotions in song. The South, in particular, sang about the trials and triumphs of its turbulent times. When the war came, Southern nationalism demanded that the South have its own songs. Songwriters, music publishers, and performers rose to the challenge. The South was overmatched in weaponry, manpower, money, machinery, and raw materials, but not in its emotional commitment to its war effort and certainly not in the raw joy it had for singing. As one historian mused, if the war could have been won by singing, the outcome might have been different.
But despite the importance of music to everyday life in the South, its stories have generally been overlooked. Singing the New Nation explores this rarely told aspect of the Southern war effort. Drawing on previously unpublished sources such as newspapers, diaries, and memoirs as well as the songs themselves, this book tells the story of the private lives of generals, ordinary soldiers, and families across the South and the triumph and tragedy that accompanied the Civil War.
Stackpole Books, Hardcover, 2000
THIS IS A BRAND NEW BOOK.