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Summary

This is the first narrative of the Civil War told by the very people that it freed. Groundbreaking, compelling, and poignant, The Slaves' War delivers an unprecedented vision of the nation's bloodiest conflict.

An acclaimed historian of 19th-century and African American history, Andrew Ward gives us the first narrative of the Civil War told from the perspective of those whose destiny it decided. Woven together from interviews, diaries, letters, and memoirs, here is the Civil War as seen not only from battlefields and camps but also from slave quarters, kitchens, roadsides, and fields.

Speaking in a quintessentially American language of biblical power and intensity, body servants, army cooks and launderers, runaways, teamsters, and gravediggers bring the war to life.

From slaves' theories about the war's causes to their frank assessments of such figures as Lincoln, Davis, Lee, and Grant; from their searing memories of the carnage of battle to their often startling attitudes toward masters and liberators alike; and from their initial jubilation at the Yankee invasion of the slave South to the crushing disappointment of freedom's promise unfulfilled, The Slaves' War is an engrossing vision of America's Second Revolution.

©2008 Andrew Ward (P)2008 Tantor

Critic reviews

"A fresh angle and a wealth of material." ( Kirkus)
"A riveting book about the most important event in our history, from the perspective of those most affected by its outcome....An antidote to all the mythologizing that has over the years smothered this moral tale." (Ken Burns)

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Laurie
  • 15-10-08

Interesting read

I enjoyed this book, although I have to admit that the first few chapters were a little confusing - it was tough to follow each battle scene. The book got a lot better when it documented the end of the war, and how that impacted the slaves. If you enjoy civil war literature, you would like this book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • HODGEPODGESPV
  • 20-01-13

historical listening/learning made ease

This is such a good book that comes to me from a new direction...that of the slaves and freemen. I have relatives that fought in the war between the states. (that is the way my mother says it..."There was nothing civil about it!" she says very forcefully.) I think I am happier that I got this as an audio book as the reader has a has just the right voice for it. Maybe this is the right time for people to hear these voices. To hear the words of people we didn't hear from in school. Consider it well, my friends.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Leslie Grey McCawley
  • 03-12-10

In the very words of the slaves themselves!

This is an amazing book. Here we have a massive compilation of eye-witnesses to history in the making, as quoted directly from them. African-American people of all ages and in all the war-affected areas, each with their own personality and particular point of view sharing their insights and opinions on all aspects of the tumult. The quotes are well-selected and exceedingly moving; it is fascinating to hear what the soon-to-be-free slaves' thoughts were as they watched the effects of the war on their white masters and communities. The narrator is very good, doing justice to the slaves' patois. I finally feel that I am getting a sense of the 'whole picture' of the Civil War, now that I can hear these long dead people's voices! And they are lively voices that need to be heard. A truly wonderful contribution to the historical record.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Sharonr1
  • 27-10-09

It is good but.....

I have listened to the first part of this book. It is fascinating to hear first hand of the personal comments of the people involved. With that said although I do have a strong stomach for gory descriptions I believe this book went too far in these descriptions. It was hard to handle without being very distracted from the rest of the book and I must admit that I am not anxious to get back to the second volume.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Sherray
  • 06-01-09

Very informative....

I enjoyed the detailed accounts of this book,which made everything the subjects went through understandable.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Renae
  • 07-10-08

Could use a better narrator

Subject matter is interesting but it is hard to listen to because the narrator puts such long pauses in inappropriate places. It was very distracting. I am almost finished with the book but I am in no hurry to get back to it. I wish I could have read this myself.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful