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Andersonville: The Last Depot (Civil War America)
Between February 1864 and April 1865, 41,000 Union prisoners of war were taken to the stockade at Anderson Station, Georgia, where nearly 13,000 - one-third of them - died. Most contemporary accounts placed the blame for the tragedy squarely on the shoulders of the Confederates who administered the prison or on a conspiracy of higher-ranking officials. In this carefully re ...more
Paperback, 337 pages
Published August 1st 2006 by University of North Carolina Press
(first published 1994)
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I have read several books on Andersonville and feel this is the best that is out there that I have read. It was re-published in 2008 with great fanfare among Civil War enthusiasts and historians. What Marvel accomplishes is a thoughtful, fact supported discussion concerning one of the most controversial Civil War P.O.W. camps in America., He also makes a strong argument in defense of Capt. Henry Wirtz who was the administrator of the prison and ultimately hanged as a war criminal(the only soldie ...more
Ok so this is really 3 1/2 for me. The research is amazing and the writing is good, and I even agree that Wirz was the scapegoat for this massive Confederate fail; however, he is not without guilt and the constant excuse making for this tragedy coupled with the dismissal of first person reports of cruelty disgusted me.
The American Civil War is rife with controversial subjects that draw impassioned argument from many sides. One of these subjects that is most controversial is the overall treatment of prisoners of war. This argument has been heated and has continued since before the end of the war. What all must agree to is that the attitudes toward treatment of prisoners by both Union and Confederate governments was a dark, horrible, and shameful page in United States history. This was nowhere more evident tha ...more
Good to read in conjunction with Mackinlay Kantor's great novel, Andersonville. The novel gives a vivid sense of the suffering humanity of all those involved with, or incarcerated in, the prison. The work of non-fiction then shows that one's natural emotional response to the novel - anger and blame - may not do full justice to the captors.
I liked the perspective Marvel took; unemotional and objective presentation of facts forces the reader to formulate his own opinions. Having viewed the events in the prison through the eyes of some of its inhabitants gave a new validity to these cold, hard facts. The representation of men from different backgrounds, motives, morals, and objectives gave me insight to their humanity, and even their inhumanity. I found it interesting that even though the circumstances that brought each man to Ander ...more
Very well written historical synopsis of Confederate prison camps. The author is somewhat sympathetic to Wirtz and the extreme difficulty of feeding and caring for Union prisoners. My electronic copy had no images or maps hence, the four stars.
William Marvel grew up on Davis Hill in South Conway, where he still lives. He has been writing about nineteenth-century American history for more than three decades.More about William Marvel...
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