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Embattled Courage: The Experience of Combat in the American Civil War
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Embattled Courage: The Experience of Combat in the American Civil War

3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  107 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews

Linderman traces each soldier's path from the exhilaration of enlistment to the disillusionment of battle to postwar alienation. He provides a rare glimpse of the personal battle that raged within soldiers then and now.

Paperback, 368 pages
Published April 17th 1989 by Free Press (first published 1987)
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(showing 1-30 of 203)
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Nov 12, 2015 Joshua rated it really liked it
Shelves: military-history
Linderman argues that both Confederate and Union soldiers began the Civil War with similar value systems—primarily courage and honor—that prescribed their actions in combat, under duress, while wounded, and before death. Over the course of the war, and especially as changing technologies turned the battlefield from one of individualistic action to indiscriminate killing, soldiers became disillusioned with these value systems and began to rely on camaraderie, perseverance, and mitigating the pote ...more
Robin Friedman
Jan 27, 2015 Robin Friedman rated it it was amazing
Gerald Linderman's "Embattled Courage" (1987) is an outstanding study of the motivation of soldiers during the American Civil War and of the values of the society to which they responded.

The book is in two broad sections. The first part of the book, titled "Courage's War" covers the early years of the war to about mid-1863 (the time of the climactic Union victories at Gettysburg and Vicksburg). During these years, Linderman sees the primary motivating factor of the war as courage and of individu
Joseph Stieb
Oct 04, 2014 Joseph Stieb rated it really liked it
Shelves: us-civil-war
Linderman argues Union and Confederate soldiers began the Civil War with a deep ideological commitment to values such as courage and honor. They believed in the power of the individual to determine his own fate and the course of battles. Various aspects of the war disillusioned most soldiers of these beliefs by the end of the war. These included the helplessness of the individual in the face of new weaponry and industrial warfare, omnipresent death, monotony, brutality, disease, injuries, and re ...more
Mar 30, 2013 Greg rated it really liked it
Shelves: civil-war-nf
Started very slow, but wasn't until getting to the 2nd half of this book did I then understand what Linderman was after. He does a great job showing the stark contrast and changes in the soldier's perceptions of valor and bravery, between the first two, and the last two years of the war. Linderman does a good job of showing the Civil War infantrymen taking to the changes, and the changes in attitude in the mindset of the individual soldier that brought about. This is a theme I keep looking for, ...more
Luanne Coats
The best book I've ever read on why men fought in America's Civil War.
An early and foundational treatment of the motivations of Civil War soldiers, Linderman's work looks at conceptions of courage and manhood as central to explaining the average experience. He focuses a great deal on the disillusionment that set in for soldiers as the war dragged on, finally making some interesting, if somewhat conjectural claims that men in blue and gray by and large gave up hope of surviving the conflict. His description of the typical soldier's experience carries into the postw ...more
Jan 21, 2014 Brian rated it really liked it
Good for professionals, great for buffs.
Serjeant Wildgoose
Apr 26, 2016 Serjeant Wildgoose rated it liked it
An often interesting, but rarely gripping study of the effect of war on the perceptions of men who fight it. Linderman looks at the volunteer soldiers of America's civil war and shows how, as with so many soldiers in so many wars, their attitudes to the hardships and horrors of battle, to their enemy, to their friends, comrades and families change with deepening experience.
Darcia Helle
Nov 04, 2009 Darcia Helle rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, nonfiction
This civil war book is unique, in that we see the war from the perspective of those who were involved. Linderman includes excerpts from letters and diaries of the men who fought this horrible war. The reader gets a true feel for what this period in history must have been like for the men and women who lived through it.
Tom Darrow
Jul 11, 2011 Tom Darrow rated it liked it
The author attempts to describe the war by collecting primary accounts of the soldiers involved and bypassing a lot of the bigger picture information. Because the big picture is lacking in many places, the book feels a bit disjointed. It is clear that he did his research, but the book itself is very dense.
Oct 14, 2016 Barbara rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
Tried to finish it. I really did! But there was only point to be made... men try to be brave when faced with danger so their peers don't make fun of them. Oh, and war is hell.
Carly Johnson
Aug 05, 2011 Carly Johnson rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
School read, and a worthwhile one to keep! Well-written and makes history interesting to those of us that hate reading about it.
Oct 11, 2012 Derrick rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I have read on Civil War combat and getting inside the head of a Civil War soldier.
John Beeler
Jul 03, 2007 John Beeler rated it liked it
Skillful, gruesome, if a bit congratualatory.
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