Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Featured Book Reviewer
- Jan 7, 2013
- Long Island, NY
The Business of Captivity: Elmira and Its Civil War Prison by Michael Gray published by Kent State University Press (2001) 228 pages $29.95 Hardcover, $14.49 Kindle.If ever Northerner knew in 1865 of the depredations committed against Union prisoners at Andersonville, every white Southerner knew that the Union prison at Elmira imposed similar hardships on Confederates unfortunate enough to be confined there. While some Union prisons had remarkably low death rates, those imprisoned at Elmira only had a slightly better chance of surviving than their counterparts at Andersonville.
This book by Michael Gray provides both a history of the Union prison on the banks of the Chemung, and a unique analysis of the economic and social impact of the prison on the developing city of Elmira.
As my regular readers know, this is the third book on Civil War prisons that I am reviewing this month. It is trying and depressing to read these works, but I have learned more new stuff about the Civil War this dark February than in any other month of my life. With my own background in human rights law, this excursion into the heart of Civil War darkness has been a little too much of a busman's holiday, but it was necessary for me to take this trip to fully understand the impact of the war on men's lives.
Note: This review will be posted in several posts because of its length.