Books NF Diary Mary Chesnut's Civil War


Lieutenant General
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Managing Member & Webmaster
Apr 1, 1999
Martinsburg, WV

Mary Chesnut's Civil War
written by Mary Chesnut & edited by C. Vann Woodward

The incomparable Civil War diarist Mary Chesnut wrote that she had the luck "always to stumble in on the real show." Married to a high-ranking member of the Confederate government, she was ideally placed to watch and to record the South's headlong plunge to ruin, and she left in her journals an unsurpassed account of the old regime's death throes, its moment of high drama in world history. In her own circles, aristocratic, patriarchal, slave-holding... Mary Chesnut was a figure of heresy and of paradox. She had a horror of slavery and called herself an abolitionist from early youth.

Winner of the 1982 Pulitzer Prize in History

“A great epic drama of our greatest national tragedy.”—William Styron, New York Review of Books

“A feast for Civil War buffs…. One of the best firsthand records of the Confederate experience…. Electrifying.”—Walter Clemons, Newsweek

“Here is a book to curl up with over a whole lifetime—to read and reread, to ponder and savor.”—Selma R. Williams, Boston Globe

“A painfully brilliant record of our old America at daggers drawn…. Mary Chestnut’s wit and shrewdness, her fierce abhorrence of slavery, her feminist ambitions, maker her observations peculiarly modern… C. Vann Woodward’s editing… is exemplary…. He has reacquainted us with a remarkable woman; and she has reacquainted us with the living past.”—Andrew Klavan, Saturday Review

“Here is the rich and full context, as the author herself recreated it. It is by all odds the best of all civil War memoirs, and one of the most remarkable eye-witness accounts to emerge from that or any other war.”—Louis D. Rubin, Jr., New Republic

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