Journey to the Wilderness: War, Memory and a Southern Family's Civil War Letters

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NewSouth Books, Jan 6, 2015 - History - 128 pages

On the one-hundred-fiftieth anniversary of the Civil War, award-winning author Frye Gaillard reflects on the war -- and the way we remember it -- through letters written by his family, including his great-great grandfather and his two sons, both of whom were Confederate officers. As Gaillard explains in his introductory essay, he came of age in a Southern generation that viewed the war as a glorious lost cause. But as he read through letters collected by members of his family, he confronted a far more sobering truth.

"Oh, this terrible war," wrote his great-great-grandfather, Thomas Gaillard. "Who can measure the troubles -- the affliction -- it has brought upon us all?"

To this real-time anguish in voices from the past, Gaillard offers a personal remembrance of the shadow of war and its place in the haunted identity of the South. "My own generation," he writes, "was, perhaps, the last that was raised on stories of gallantry and courage . . . Oddly, mine was also the one of the first generations to view the Civil War through the lens of civil rights -- to see . . . connections and flaws in Southern history that earlier generations couldn't bear to face."


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User Review  - skstiles612 - LibraryThing

The author used letters from her own ancestor to create this book. This is the most realistic depiction of of what it was like to be on the battlefield. No movie could ever depict how horrible this ... Read full review


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About the author (2015)

Frye Gaillard is an award-winning journalist and author of more than a dozen books on Southern culture and history, including Cradle of Freedom: Alabama and the Movement That Changed Americas; Race, Rock, and Religion: Profiles from a Southern Journalist; The Quest for Desegregation; The Dream Long Deferred: A Community’s Quest for Desegregation; Kyle at 200 MPH: Sizzling Season in the Petty/NASCAR Dynasty; If I were a Carpenter: Twenty Years of Habitat for Humanity. A native of Mobile, Alabama, he lives in Charlotte, North Carolina. Peter Cooper is an award-winning music writer for the Nashville Tennessean. He is the author of Hub City Music Makers: One Southern Town’s Popular Music Legacy.

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