Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Book Review: Life in Civil War America

Zinc Gravestone
Originally uploaded by midgefrazel
 Recently I was asked to read over a new book, Life in Civil War America, to be published in late February at the Family Tree magazine, "Shop Family Tree" store.  [Here's the link to preorder this exciting new book.] It was written by Michael J. Varhola with a photo commentary by Maureen A. Taylor. It will be published by F&W Media, the parent company of Family Tree Magazine and it is also available at Amazon.com

As you know, 2011 marks the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War and Mr. Varhola's update to his popular book, Everyday Life During Civil War America, published in 1999, will be a hit with genealogists and family historians and here's why....

With the push for all of us to have better understanding of the lives of our ancestors, it is essential to read material about not only where your ancestors lived geographically  but to be knowledgeable about their work, their food, their houses, their religion, their entertainment and the ways in which they communicated. We all wish we could be time traveler's to visit and talk and get to know them.

For those who are writing a family history of their family during this period of America or who are writing a work of fiction, this book is a must have and a must read.

More than just another reference book, this visually appealing book is an entertaining look at life before, during and after the war. It is not just another book about the battles and their outcomes. I enjoyed it, learned a lot and it inspired me to learn more about my four 2nd great grandfathers who lived in this time, their wives, their children and even their parents and siblings who might have still been living.

I took 15 pages of notes with ideas of ways to learn more about this time period. I has three who served and one who did not. For the first time, I am wondering why one did not serve.

It is chilling to learn that between the years 1861 and 1865, 625, 000 Americans died, which is more that all US personnel killed during World Wars I & II, Korea and Vietnam. How horrible.

Chapters that I enjoyed were the photo appendix by Maureen Taylor, the chapter with the Step by Step ways to get records, the chapter on education (since I am an educator and a genealogist) and the amusing chapter titled Fun & Games.

Thumbs up for this book!

Gravestone pictured here from Old Packer Burrows Cemetery in Groton, CT:
Addison Alonzo GODFREY, Co. C. 21st Reg't Conn. Vol's
Died Feb'y 3, 1880, private was a machinist and in 1870 was living in Groton, CT he rec'd a disability discharge on 2 Jun 1865. He is not an ancestor of mine. I like the patriotic flag emblem at the top of the stone.

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