God's Almost Chosen Peoples: A Religious History of the American Civil War

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Univ of North Carolina Press, Nov 29, 2010 - History - 586 pages
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Throughout the Civil War, soldiers and civilians on both sides of the conflict saw the hand of God in the terrible events of the day, but the standard narratives of the period pay scant attention to religion. Now, in God's Almost Chosen Peoples, Lincoln Prize-winning historian George C. Rable offers a groundbreaking account of how Americans of all political and religious persuasions used faith to interpret the course of the war.

Examining a wide range of published and unpublished documents--including sermons, official statements from various churches, denominational papers and periodicals, and letters, diaries, and newspaper articles--Rable illuminates the broad role of religion during the Civil War, giving attention to often-neglected groups such as Mormons, Catholics, blacks, and people from the Trans-Mississippi region. The book underscores religion's presence in the everyday lives of Americans north and south struggling to understand the meaning of the conflict, from the tragedy of individual death to victory and defeat in battle and even the ultimate outcome of the war. Rable shows that themes of providence, sin, and judgment pervaded both public and private writings about the conflict. Perhaps most important, this volume--the only comprehensive religious history of the war--highlights the resilience of religious faith in the face of political and military storms the likes of which Americans had never before endured.

 

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User Review  - norwayken - LibraryThing

When I purchased this book, I was in great hopes that I would learn more of the role members of my Stone-Campbell religious heritage had during the American Civil War. From 1850-1860, the Disciples of ... Read full review

Contents

Prologue
1
1 Crises of Faith
11
2 Reaping the Whirlwind
33
3 Holy War
51
4 Fighting for God and Country
69
5 Temptations of the Camp
90
6 The Shepherds and Their Sheep
107
7 Christian Soldiers
127
14 Wrath
258
15 Jubilo
278
16 Armies of the Lord
299
17 War Comes to the Churches
317
18 Citizens Saints and Soldiers
335
19 Thanksgiving and Desperation
353
20 The Final Decrees of Providence
370
Epilogue
389

8 The God of Battles
147
9 Carnage
166
10 Wars Purpose
185
11 The Lords Work
204
12 Testing Faith
222
13 Declension
240
Notes
399
Bibliography
477
Acknowledgments
573
Index
575
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About the author (2010)

George C. Rable holds the Charles G. Summersell Chair in Southern History at the University of Alabama. He is author of Civil Wars: Women and the Crisis of Southern Nationalism, The Confederate Republic: A Revolution against Politics, and Fredericksburg! Fredericksburg!, which won the Lincoln Prize.

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