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Andersonville Diary

4.25  ·  Rating Details ·  383 Ratings  ·  52 Reviews
John Ransom was a 20-year-old Union soldier when he became a prisoner of war in 1863. In his unforgettable diary, Ransom reveals the true story of his day-to-day struggle in the worst of Confederate prison camps--where hundreds of prisoners died daily. Ransom's story of survival is, according to Publishers Weekly, "a great adventure . . . observant, eloquent, and moving."
Paperback, 281 pages
Published May 1st 1994 by Berkley (first published January 1986)
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(showing 1-30)
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William Beesley
Jun 10, 2009 William Beesley rated it really liked it
I wish this guy was still alive and had an email address so I could invite him over for dinner. He was in the 7th circle of harpy infested Hell suffering starvation, and scurvy which was slowly killing him but he wasn't going to complain about it. Throughout the whole drudgery he maintained a pragmatic peppy attitude and his advice to himself should he escape death and get out of Andersonville prison was to join the Masons and then buy and wear silk underwear. How cool is that.

His journal tends
...more
Judy Vasseur
Mar 04, 2009 Judy Vasseur rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Judy by: Rex
History in your face. I was surprised to find John Ransom’s writing so contemporary—as if a friend or co-worker had written me an Email that took over one hundred years to arrive. Lincoln reported dead in the newspapers a year too soon! Spin doctors have been around awhile.

One year in the Life of John Ransom. I’m struck by the similarities between John Ransom and the Russian writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, author of One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, The Gulag Archipelago and many other fin
...more
George G. Calhoun
The horrible life in a Confederate prison.

John Ransom's daily account of life in the Andersonville prison and his effort to stay alive. The horror of men dying every day of disease and starvation. This diary an excellent record of what happened and his will to live until this war ended.
Lonnie Titus
Dec 21, 2016 Lonnie Titus rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent account of a tragic period in our history.

Ransom had a real talent for writing and was very diligent under terrible conditions. He seemed to be able to accept his situation with surprising grace. He was able to survive to a large degree because of that ability.

This is one of the best books on the civil war I have read to date.
Joseph Johns
Somewhat repetitive because of the incredible facts of the history.

Although a compelling document of the history of Andersonville, the book is repetitive, but I suppose an undertaking of this magnitude would, by its own nature would have that quality.
Benjamin Tramm
Jan 19, 2017 Benjamin Tramm rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Good jounal

Good read as a journal written at the time. Really amazing what a person can live through. Worth the time.
Lisa Loftis
Jan 28, 2017 Lisa Loftis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very intense read, gives the reader an in depth look at the suffering at Andersonville. Gripping and very enlightening
Karen Hunt
Nov 08, 2016 Karen Hunt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is so good
Gail Hoskins
Oct 15, 2016 Gail Hoskins rated it it was amazing
Great diary kept by actual Andersonville prisoner. He was only 20/21 while a prisoner, but had a flair for writing.
Stephen O'curran
Ransom a genius, his writtings I do believe kept him alive.

Fantastic ! , A hurray ! , Amazing man of resiliency to keep his fortitude in full positive strength.
Not only did he save himself but aided in helping others in many ways . The Brotherhood that he was
able to show in his writtings and he partook in was skilled as much brave under the turbulant times
of strife put to them by the Rebels . I heard stories as a boy of the Civil War and how it tore our family
apart as well as neighbors close a
...more
Cindy Rinaman
Nov 06, 2016 Cindy Rinaman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 4-star-reviews
John Ransom was an ordinary Union soldier captured during the Civil War, but, perhaps because he was a printer, he knew a record of his experiences could be valuable, and he made sure to secure a series of blank books to fill during his more than a year in Confederate hands. He mentions a couple of times how he hopes the book will make his fortune, and I do hope he profited by it. My rating is 4 stars instead of 5 only because as an authentic record, it is not carefully shaped for literary value ...more
Doncourtright
Day to Day Chronology

I liked the realism that the diary style presented. It almost seemed that you were there. Anyone that wants to read about the Civil War would enjoy this book.
Ellis
Mar 13, 2008 Ellis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, history, war
This work is collected from the diaries of a Union cavalry officer who was taken prisoner by the Confederates and spent most of his Civil War days as a prisoner of war. He spent a lot of time in the Andersonville prison. The soldier reports that when he was taken prisoner he weighed about 170 lbs, but that during his time at Andersonville his weight got as low as 98 lbs. He was severly affected by scurvy and something called dropsy. At one point in Andersonville, half of the prisoners died in on ...more
KatieSuzanne
Mar 01, 2011 KatieSuzanne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
This was crazy. I had to keep reminding myself that this wasn't a book about the holocaust, it wasn't a Russian prison camp in Siberia, and it wasn't even fiction. It's not even Anne Frank hiding in Amsterdam. This is American Civil War and it's shocking. Ransom and his trusty blanket surviving so much. I had no idea so many soldiers died in POW camps from such poor treatment. True it was a long time ago and during the civil war, but really? In America? Ugh. I loved how grateful he was for the h ...more
Carl R.
May 15, 2012 Carl R. rated it really liked it
God knows why this story never wears out for me, this Civil War narrative. Just when I think I’m done with it, something else comes along. Now I’m in the middle of Shelby Foote’s massive (2400+ pages) The Civil War trilogy, and as a break read this little diary. At least I was given leave not to re-read the MacKinley Kantor novel of lo these many years ago. This is quite enough.
It’s as upbeat as an account of a man over a year in captivity under the harshest imaginable conditions, nearly starve
...more
Lilly
Mar 17, 2015 Lilly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
A very moving diary of Sgt. John Ransom who was a Union Soldier taken prisoner by the Confederates during the Civil War. First held prisoner on Belle Isle, Virginia, Sgt. John Ransom was moved along with other prisoners to Camp Sumter in Georgia to the POW camp known as Andersonville. Sgt. Ransom survives, but barely, only able to leave the prison with the help of two friends. Sgt. Ransom was nursed back to health in Savannah Georgia, by some compassionate doctors and nurses. I greatly admire Sg ...more
Lilly
Apr 13, 2015 Lilly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
A very moving diary of Sgt. John Ransom who was a Union Soldier taken prisoner by the Confederates during the Civil War. First held prisoner on Belle Isle, Virginia, Sgt. John Ransom was moved along with other prisoners to Camp Sumter in Georgia to the POW camp known as Andersonville. Sgt. Ransom survives, but barely, only able to leave the prison with the help of two friends. Sgt. Ransom was nursed back to health in Savannah Georgia, by some compassionate doctors and nurses. I greatly admire Sg ...more
Deb
When I travel I like to read the history of the places we visit. We had an opportunity to see some of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama. We stopped at Andersonville and I bought this book. It is inspiring. This camp was beyond imagining and yet some survived. If they gave up or became totally self oriented they died. Did you know that at least 36,868 Union soldiers died in captivity. 316,233 Union soldiers died. There are 13,706 graves at Andersonville. The author had some good ...more
Lisa
I read this book when one of my children brought it home as required reading. I always made a point to read whatever they did, so I picked it up. I did not expect to be as completely engaged and engrossed and truly moved by Jon Ransom's account of his time at Andersonville Prison.

It was inspiring the read how he maintained his humanity in an inhumane situation, in which so many people were not able to maintain their sanity and decency, by doing simple things like keeping his space clean.

It was a
...more
Jan C
Jul 12, 2009 Jan C rated it it was amazing
Shelves: civil-war
I think he starts out at Libby Prison or one of the prisons in that area of Virginia and gets transferred to Andersonville. Although he could have been one of the Libby escapees who were later recaught. Many of them were.

But his time at Andersonville is harrowing. They try to keep some semblance of humanity and civilization but it gets very difficult toward the end. Eventually he gets so wasted that while others are put on a train to somewhere, he gets put in a hospital. He knows the Yankees are
...more
David
Sep 08, 2015 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to David by: Just stumbled on it in thrift shop
The word "amazing" is seriously overused these days, but it fits this book. Amazingly horrible conditions (and when one reads the report of an investigating doctor in the appendix, it's even worse than what comes across in the diary). Amazing how a just few guys sticking together can help each other, amazing that the author survived, amazing that he was able to write his diary, amazing that he was able to hand onto it, amazing that he was able to escape captivity twice, and stay at liberty the s ...more
Zana
Aug 17, 2012 Zana rated it liked it
I listened to the book on audio and I really liked it....however, the reader was a much older man which made it hard to believe the writer was only twenty. Also, I wanted to hear more about Andersonville; that was the reason I read the book....good book, wonderful, but not quite what I was looking for.
Denise
Sep 30, 2013 Denise rated it it was ok
Shelves: listening-to
I would not recommend the audio version of this book.

Diary of a young man who is spends a year in Andersonville Prison during the Civil War. The diary is written by a 20 year old man, but narrator sounds like he's 80. It didn't work.

Also - the writing isn't very compelling, in spite of the grim circumstances that he was in. It was disappointing

Shannyboo
May 21, 2013 Shannyboo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the diary of John Ransom, a prisoner of war held at Andersonville during the Civil War. Was this the most thrilling read ever? No. Was it a bit dry in spots? Yes. But I cut him quite a bit of slack, as it's a diary, and not a novel. And I felt that it was an important read. And he does have some pretty good escape stories.
William
Feb 02, 2011 William rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
An incredible tale of hardship and privation from a Union soldier help captive in the South during the Civil War. Ransom's eventual escape is even more impressive given the condition that he had reached after a year of captivity. A great read for those interested in true narratives of that conflict and the manner in which prisoners were treated.
Chad
Apr 06, 2010 Chad rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First hand account of the horrors of Andersonville and a day in the life of a Union prisoner during the Civil War. This is a journal, not a biography. You will not learn much beyond John Ransom's personal experiences. That said, this is a powerful narrative that illustrates one of our nation's darkest periods in a prison where men starved, tortured, and murdered their own countrymen.
Barbara
May 09, 2016 Barbara rated it it was amazing
John Ransom is someone I would like to have known. His cheerfulness in the face of such horrible circumstances is not only admirable, but inspiring. He never sugar-coated things, but told the story accurately and without fanfare. This is a book that leaves the reader with a greater sense of what it means to keep your humanity intact while undergoing some of the worst trials a person can face.
Nicole Marble
Dec 21, 2010 Nicole Marble rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Civil War Union soldier Ransom was a prisoner in the Confederate prisoner of war camp in Andersonville, GA and this is his diary. He nearly died several times at the hands of the Confederates and was also saved by other Confederates and numerous slaves. As true a story as you will ever read - Exceptional!
Fredrick Danysh
This is a first hand account of the Confederate's prison facility at Andersonville, Georgia, and the struggle to survive. After the Civil War the commander of Andersonville was tried as a war criminal for crimes against humanity even though Union POW prisons were just as harsh.
Sara
Jul 21, 2012 Sara rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I read this in high school after I found out one of my ancestors was a prisoner of war in Andersonville during the Civil War. Terrible place, terrible conditions. Glad he made it out alive or I wouldn't be typing this up right now.
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“ANDERSONVILLE DIARY JOHN H. RANSOM, LATE FIRST SERGEANT NINTH MICH. CAV., AUTHOR AND PUBLISHER, 1881” 0 likes
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