Thursday, January 24, 2008

A Place Called Appomattox

by William Marvel

From the publisher:
To tell the story of Appomattox Court House, Marvel says, is to tell the history of the South in the Civil War - a struggle that lasted not four years but a lifetime, between the first sectional rumblings and the last gasp of reactionary rhetoric.

Marvel draws on original documents, diaries, and letters composed as the events unfolded to produce a clear and credible portrait of this place and the galvanizing events that unfolded there that is both typical and extraordinary. He depicts a village where black and white, rich and poor followed the fortunes of tobacco culture, and where - contrary to the Lost Cause image - rich and influential men managed to avoid the front if they preferred, leaving their poorer, older, and sometimes disabled neighbors to bear the battle for those who had begun it.

Marvel also scrutinizes Appomattox the national symbol, exposing many of the cherished myths surrounding the events there. In particular, he challenges the long-accepted view of the surrender, first perpetuated by Joshua Chamberlain and John B. Gordon, that enemies who had battled each other for four years suddenly laid down their arms and welcomed each other as brothers, setting aside political and philosophical differences that had fermented into hatred.

William Marvel's many books include the award-winning Andersonville: The Last Depot and The Alabama and the Kearsarge: The Sailor's Civil War. He lives in South Conway, New Hampshire.

From the critics:
Marvel's thoroughly researched and handsomely illustrated work is recommended for Civil War collections and most libraries. - Library Journal

... perhaps his best book to date - Publishers Weekly

From CWBN:
This is the first paperback edition of a hardcover book.