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Oh, What a Loansome Time I Had
The Civil War Letters of Major William Morel Moxley, Eighteenth Alabama Infantry, and Emily Beck Moxley
Emily Beck Moxley
University of Alabama Press, 2002
This rare correspondence between a soldier and his wife relates in poignant detail the struggle for survival on the battlefield as well as on the home front and gives voice to the underrepresented class of small farmers

Most surviving correspondence of the Civil War period was written by members of a literate, elite class; few collections exist in which the woman's letters to her soldier husband have been preserved. Here, in the exchange between William and Emily Moxley, a working-class farm couple from Coffee County, Alabama, we see vividly an often-neglected aspect of the Civil War experience: the hardships of civilian life on the home front.

Emily's moving letters to her husband, startling in their immediacy and detail, chronicle such difficulties as a desperate lack of food and clothing for her family, the frustration of depending on others in the community, and her growing terror at facing childbirth without her husband, at the mercy of a doctor with questionable skills. Major Moxley's letters to his wife reveal a decidedly unromantic side of the war, describing his frequent encounters with starvation, disease, and bloody slaughter.

To supplement this revealing correspondence, the editor has provided ample documentation and research; a genealogical chart of the Moxley family; detailed maps of Alabama and Florida that allow the reader to trace the progress of Major Moxley's division; and thorough footnotes to document and elucidate events and people mentioned in the letters. Readers interested in the Civil War and Alabama history will find these letters immensely appealing while scholars of 19th-century domestic life will find much of value in Emily Moxley's rare descriptions of her homefront experiences.

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Ohio Volunteer
The Childhood and Civil War Memoirs of Captain John Calvin Hartzell, OVI
Charles I. Switzer
Ohio University Press, 2005

When his captain was killed during the Battle of Perryville, John Calvin Hartzell was made commander of Company H, 105th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. He led his men during the Battle of Chickamauga, the siege of Chattanooga, and the Battle of Missionary Ridge. Edited and introduced by Charles Switzer, Ohio Volunteer: The Childhood and Civil War Memoirs of Captain John Calvin Hartzell, OVI documents military strategy, the life of the common soldier, the intense excitement and terror of battle, and the wretchedness of the wounded.

Hartzell’s family implored him to set down his life story, including his experiences in the Civil War from 1862 to 1866. Hartzell did so diligently, taking more than two years to complete his manuscript. The memoir reveals a remarkable memory for vivid details, the ability to see larger and more philosophical perspectives, and a humorous outlook that helped him bear the unbearable.

He also depicted the changing rural economy, the assimilation of the Pennsylvania Dutch, and the transformations wrought by coal mining and the iron industry. Hartzell felt individualism was threatened by the Industrial Revolution and the cruelties of the war. He found his faith in humanity affirmed—and the dramatic tension in his memoir resolved—when 136,000 Union soldiers reenlisted and assured victory for the North. The common soldier, he wrote, was “loyal to the core.”


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On The Ho Chi Minh Trail
The Blood Road, The Women Who Defended It, The Legacy
Sherry Buchanan
Asia Ink, 2020
A mix of travelogue, history, and mediation on a journey through the Ho Chi Minh Trail that reveals the critical role women played in defending it.

Offering both a personal and historical exploration of the Ho Chi Minh Trail, this book highlights the critical role the Trail and the young women soldiers who helped build and defend it played in the Vietnam War. Accompanied by two traveling companions, Sherry Buchanan winds her way from Hanoi in the north to Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon, in the south. Driving through the spectacular scenery of Vietnam and Laos, she encounters locations from the Truong Son mountains, the Phong Nha Caves, ancient citadels, and Confucian temples to the Khmer Temple of Wat Phu at the western-most point of the Trail in Laos.
Buchanan records her interactions—both scheduled and spontaneous—with those who experienced the Vietnam War firsthand. She listens to the women who defended the Trail roads against the greatest bombing campaign in modern times, walks through minefields with the demolition teams hunting for unexploded ordnance, and meets American veterans who have returned to Vietnam with an urge to “do something.” Buchanan weaves informative, and often humorous, tales from her journey with excerpts from the accounts of others, situating the locations she visits in their historical and political context. On the Ho Chi Minh Trail brings together geography, history, and personal accounts to reveal the scale of the tragedy, its harmful legacies, and our memory of it. Buchanan challenges American exceptionalism and calls for redress for those harmed by US military actions during the Vietnam War and America’s subsequent wars.

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On the Plains in ’65
The 6th West Virginia Volunteer Cavalry in the West
George H. Holliday
Ohio University Press, 2021

A new scholarly edition of an Ohio boy soldier’s revealing post-Civil War memoir.

This annotated edition of Holliday’s recollections—known primarily among historians of the American West—re-contextualizes his memoir to include his boyhood in southern Ohio and the largely untold story of the hundreds of Buckeyes who crossed the Ohio River to serve their country in Virginia (later West Virginia) regiments, ultimately traveling across Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, and Wyoming to safeguard mail and stage routes along the celebrated Oregon Trail during a pivotal time in American history.

Glenn Longacre’s extensive research in federal, state, and local archives, manuscript collections, and period newspapers complements his correspondence with the living descendants of Holliday and other soldiers. His research integrates this story deservedly as part of Appalachian history before, during, and after the Civil War. From this perspective it addresses an entirely new audience of Appalachian studies scholars, Civil War and frontier history enthusiasts, students, and general readers.


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One Step Ahead
A Jewish Fugitive in Hitler's Europe
Alfred Feldman. Foreword by Susan Zuccotti
Southern Illinois University Press, 2001

Through compelling personal accounts and family correspondence, One Step Ahead documents Alfred Feldman’s harrowing flight into exile as he and his family fled the pogroms that flooded across Nazi-occupied Europe. It is a memoir of horror and hope recounted by a man who survived the organized terror of Hitler’s "Final Solution" as it destroyed entire generations of European Jewish life within ten catastrophic years in the mid-twentieth century. Feldman’s memoir conveys the searing pain that has never left him, while demonstrating the triumphant humanity of a survivor.

Feldman vividly describes the impact of the escalating anti-Semitic hatred and violence in Germany during the 1930s, the impact of the notorious Nuremberg Laws in 1935, and the terrifying Kristallnacht pogrom in 1938. By age sixteen, Feldman was living with his parents and three younger sisters in Antwerp, Belgium, during the 1939 German invasions of Poland, marking the start of World War II. In the face of increasing persecution, Feldman’s extended family scattered over the globe in a desperate attempt to remain one step ahead of their Nazi pursuers.

Recalling his life on the run, Feldman describes what few survivors have chosen to write about: the Vichy raids of August 26, 1942; the French labor brigades; the Comité Dubouchage; and life in super-vised residence in France under the Italians. While in the south of France, Feldman endured food shortages and Nazi anti-Semitic measures, beginning with work camps and culminating in the deportation and ultimate death of his mother and sisters at Auschwitz.

To evade the Germans, Feldman and his father fled into the Italian Alps in September of 1943, hiding between the Allies and the Germans. Aided by local villagers, the Feldmans survived precariously for over a year and a half, along with other Jewish refugees, until that region was liberated. Only then, and only gradually, did Feldman manage to piece together the fate of his surviving family and learn at last of the death of his mother and sisters.

Now, as an adult, Alfred Feldman has retraced his escape and exile, taking his wife and children to his hometown in Germany, the mountains in Italy, and Montagnac, where a plaque commemorates his mother and sisters.


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One Sunny Day
A Child's Memories of Hiroshima
Hideko Tamura Snider
Oregon State University Press, 2023

“Every year when the days begin to stretch and the penetrating heat of summer rises to a scorching point, I am brought back to one sunny day in a faraway land. I was a young child waiting for my mother to come home. On that day, however, the sun and the earth melted together. My mother would not come home. . . .”

Hideko was ten years old when the atomic bomb devastated her home in Hiroshima. In this eloquent and moving narrative, she recalls her life before the bomb, the explosion itself, and the influence of that trauma upon her subsequent life in Japan and the United States. Her years in America have given her unusual insights into the relationship between Japanese and American cultures and the impact of Hiroshima on our lives.

This new edition includes two expanded chapters and revisions throughout. A new epilogue brings the story up to date, covering Hideko’s work as an anti-nuclear activist, including her visit to the Enola Gay at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC. This poignant story of courage and resilience remains deeply relevant today, offering a profoundly personal testimony against the ongoing threat of nuclear warfare.


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Ordered West
The Civil War Exploits of Charles A. Curtis
Alan D. Gaff
University of North Texas Press, 2017

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"Our Aim Was Man"
Andrew's Sharpshooters in the American Civil War
Roberta Senechal de la Roche
University of Massachusetts Press, 2016
One was a father who worried about his fellow soldiers' swearing. Another hoped to enter Harvard College. The third was a farmer whose letters home depict the later stages of the war. The fourth had turned to boot making when he did not inherit land. Based on the letters, diaries, and memoirs of four members of the First Company Massachusetts Sharpshooters, known as Andrew's Sharpshooters, this book provides a rare glimpse into the experiences of Union Army snipers. The company was one of the first units in American military history to be equipped with telescope-sighted rifles to enable long-distance targeting. Despite complaints that snipers violated codes of honorable combat, the members of Andrew's Sharpshooters generally expressed quiet pride in being an elite unit of highly skilled soldiers—"cool blooded sharpshooters," as one of them said.

Introduced and edited by Roberta Senechal de la Roche, these primary accounts include new details about the equipment, training, and deployment of snipers in the Army of the Potomac. They also reveal the challenges of covert warfare and include rich detail on the everyday problems of Civil War soldiers, including bad food, disease, punishing marches, and homesickness. The collected documents also convey the trials of those left on the home front.

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Our Way to Fight
Peace-Work Under Siege in Israel-Palestine
Michael Riordon
Pluto Press, 2011
This book follows the dangerous lives of peace activists in Israel and Palestine. It explores the crises that stirred them to act, the risks they face, and the small victories that sustain them.

Michael Riordon takes us to thousand year-old olive groves, besieged villages, refugee camps, checkpoints and barracks. In the face of deepening conflict, Our Way to Fight offers courageous grassroots action on both sides of the wall, and points the way to a liveable future.

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Out of Chaos
Hidden Children Remember the Holocaust
Elaine Saphier Fox
Northwestern University Press, 2013
The stories in Out of Chaos forms a profound testament to lost and found lives that are translated into compelling reading. The collection illuminates brief or elongated moments, fragments of memory and experience, what the great Holocaust writer Ida Fink called “a scrap of time.”  In all, the anthology expresses survivors’ memories and reactions to a wide range of experiences as they survived in so many European settings, from Holland, Belgium, Italy, Germany, Greece, Yugoslavia, Poland, and France.

The writers recall being on the run between different countries, escaping over mountains, hiding and even sometimes forgetting their Jewish identities in convents and rescuers’ homes and hovels, basements and attics. Some were left on their own; others found themselves embroiled in rescuer family conflicts.  Some writers chose to write story clusters, each one capturing a moment or incident and often disconnected by memory or temporal and spatial divides. 

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