A groundbreaking investigation examining the fate of Union veterans who won the war but couldn't bear the peace. For well over a century, traditional Civil War histories have concluded in 1865, with a bitterly won peace and Union soldiers returning triumphantly home. In a landmark work that challenges sterilized portraits accepted for generations, Civil War historian Brian Matthew Jordan creates an entirely new narrative. These veterans- tending rotting wounds, battling alcoholism, campaigning for paltry pensions- tragically realized that they stood as unwelcome reminders to a new America eager to heal, forget, and embrace the freewheeling bounty of the Gilded Age. Mining previously untapped archives, Jordan uncovers anguished letters and diaries, essays by amputees, and gruesome medical reports, all deeply revealing of the American psyche. In the model of twenty-first-century histories like Drew Gilpin Faust's This Republic of Suffering or Maya Jasanoff 's Liberty's Exiles that illuminate the plight of the common man, Marching Home makes almost unbearably personal the rage and regret of Union veterans. Their untold stories are critically relevant today.
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"John McDonough's resonant voice narrates this account of the odysseys of Union veterans of the American Civil War. While listening to this account, one is struck by the fact that so little has changed in a century-and-a-half. Civilians who are untouched by the war take little to no notice of the veterans. The veterans themselves are often broken both physically and emotionally but struggle to secure appreciation for their sacrifices and support for their needy comrades. The account ends with the passing of the last verified veteran of the Civil War, Albert Woolson, of Minnesota, in 1956. McDonough's pacing, inflection, and enunciation are always well done, and this production is no exception. His reading of this superbly written history will quickly capture the listener's attention and keep it to the end. M.T.F. © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine"