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Bushwhackers and Broken Hearts: Letters from Missouri during the Civil War
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Bushwhackers and Broken Hearts: Letters from Missouri during the Civil War

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  22 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
This nonfiction book portrays life in rural Missouri during the War between the States. Candid letters to a Union soldier give insights into the lives of his people back home. An up-close and personal glimpse into the Civil War on the home front. It is a saga of love and infidelity, of patriotism and desertion, of troubled birth and tragic death, of commodity prices and cr ...more
Paperback, 96 pages
Published November 2011 by Infinity Publishing (first published April 23rd 2010)
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Dec 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
This small book was loaned by a relative of the author. It is a compilation of letters to a Civil War soldier from Missouri, from various relatives. The soldier’s name was John Barton, who died in 1863. He had given these letters to a fellow soldier, Thomas Anderson Moore, to return to the family, but before that could happen Moore was wounded. Moore kept these letters in a lockbox until his death in 1915, when his daughter attempted to find the family. Unsuccessful, she donated the letters to t ...more
Richard Sahn
Apr 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history

This book reflects the author's meticulous research into the lives of his nineteenth century relatives in Missouri. Sullivan interprets their personal letters and speculates on their intentions and hidden desires during the Civil War. The letters were written mainly by family members and deal with family issues within the context of war. Sullivan's ancestors become "real" to the reader. One gets a sense of the tragedy and pathos of their lives, the heartbreak, the physical and emotional sufferin
Jimlott Lott
Mar 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." George Santayana. Bushwhackers and Broken Hearts is First Class. This book takes the reader into an intimate place. The book is composed of letters, written during troubled times. These letters were personal, their authors never imagined that one day they would be read by thousands of people. I was allowed to enter into personal and intimate family matters. I am better able to understand that nothing really changes in life. Familie ...more
Jul 28, 2010 rated it it was ok
This small book, a gift from Good Reads, was hard going for me, and I was surprised. I am a Missourian and very interested in our history, particularly the Civil War. These letters in the book from John Barton and his family were preserved by the Missouri Historical Society in St. Louis, where I live. Additional remarks, questions, and information are added by Sullivan, who is a direct descendant of the Bartons and was once a student of history at St. Louis University. He apparantly is a very pa ...more
Jul 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
I received this book as a Goodreads give-away. The story of a Union soldier from Missouri, John M Barton, is told through a packet of 29 letters sent to him throughout the Civil War. J.P. Sullivan deciphers the letters, researches the family, clarifies the meaning and discusses the possibilities though a number of questions remain unanswered.

The soldier, John M Barton enlisted the army in August 1862 leaving a wife and two chilren at home although he never acknowledges his family to the governme
Jul 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010, first-reads
Hmmm, this book is interesting. It's a series of 29 letters written to a Union soldier during the Civil War, from various members of his family. Following each letter is an explanation by the author, translating which events the letter-writer is presumably talking about. A lot of mysteries remain though: mainly the fact that the soldier told the government he had no wife or children, so they didn't receive any money while he was away (or presumably any benefits after he died). The wife is confus ...more
P.J. Sullivan
Jan 19, 2012 added it  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Civil War buffs, Missourians

These Civil War letters were tucked away at the Missouri Historical Society for many years, unknown to the descendants of the letter writers. I am a descendant. When I discovered them in 2007 I undertook to decipher them and assemble them into a readable story. Even to read them was a challenge, but now we can catch a glimpse into those troubled times in the lives of three ordinary families in rural Missouri. The history books tell us about the Civil War in the South and the East, but don't say
John Mcdonnell
Jul 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: history, civil war
Recommended to John by: Bill McDonnell
This is a fascinating view into the real stresses and fears of people living in rural Missouri during the Civil War. P. J. Sullivan reveals letters written 150 years ago to a young soldier fighting for the Union. He saved all his correspondence and when he died a buddy preserved them to return to his family.

In Missouri, the war was everywhere. The loved ones at home were in just as much danger as the soldiers at the front.

There are heart rending messages from his wife and his mother, also eye op
Nick Burchett
Sep 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: civil-war
A great book that is enlightening as well as heart wrenching. It gives a personal look at the Civil War as it was happening in Missouri. Personal letters from various family members presents a well rounded view of how the war affected all of their lives. The letters are presented chronologically, and each has commentary to go along with them to give further research and guidance. Worth the read if you are interested in the war in Missouri or family histories.
Dennis Nolan
Mar 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Born and raised in Indiana and made my career in Misouri I have always been facinated by civil war history covering both North and South. Although these letters leave a lot of questions; it is still an interesting read and well worth the time. Overall the author did a fantastic job of deciphering all the letters and putting them together.
Patricia Sperano
Sep 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
As a reader of historical fiction and an novice genealogist who shares a relative by marriage with Mr. Sullivan, I was fascinated by this book. The combination of original letters and background research makes this a great read.
Jul 11, 2010 rated it did not like it
Recommended to Kate by: Goodreads giveaway
I love to read other people's mail-- in history books of course-- and I wanted to like this very slender book as well.
This is a short collection of Civil War letters exchanged by members a fairly taciturn family-- not much in the way of description or emotional expression. It's easy to see that compiling it was a demanding task, since the letters quoted were few and often illegible. Sections of the letters are difficult to explain, and the author suggests that there are mysteries involved. But
Jul 03, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: gr-str
The book contains 29 one-way letters written to John M. Barton Jr. from various family members. After each letter, the author provided commentary that explained the content of the letter as well as raised questions that aroused from the letters. The book probably created more questions than answers and after finishing the book you’re left pondering about the past.

Overall, it was an interesting book and it gave me a new perspective on what occurred in the past and the difficulties faced by famil
Eleanor Jethro
Jul 03, 2010 rated it it was ok
This book took some getting in to. I give alot of credit to the author for having put this whole thing together. Learning to decipher other peoples writings can be a headache. The author did as good a job as possible. This is definitely not light reading. I just wonder what the real intention of John was - to deceive the military???? We will never know. Thank you Goodreads First Reads for giving me the chance to own this book free from your contest
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Studied history at Saint Louis University and pursued it in more than a dozen countries. Worked as a genealogist, editor, columnist, and cartoonist. Lived in New York, England, and Spain. Now based in Northern California. Co-author of a book of genealogy. Contributor to a blog called "The Contrary Perspective."
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