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FW: UAPress Press Release [more Alabamiana!]

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  • A.J. Wright
    fyi..aj wright // ajwright@uab.edu ... From: Jessica Lowther [mailto:JLowther@uapress.ua.edu] Sent: Thursday, May 29, 2003 2:56 PM To:
    Message 1 of 1 , May 29, 2003

      fyi..aj wright // ajwright@...

      -----Original Message-----
      From: Jessica Lowther [mailto:JLowther@...]
      Sent: Thursday, May 29, 2003 2:56 PM
      To: A.J. Wright
      Subject: UAPress Press Release

      POVERTY LED TO CONFEDERATES' DESERTION DURING CIVIL WAR

      The University of Alabama Press is pleased to announce the publication of _A Rich Man's War, A Poor Man's Fight: Desertion of Alabama Troops from the Confederate Army_, by Bessie Martin, and with a new introduction by Mark A. Weitz. This book argues that Confederate soldiers left their posts in significant numbers due largely to the prevalence of poverty on the home front.

      At the start of the Civil War in 1861, many men in Alabama enthusiastically enlisted. After these husbands, fathers, and brothers--all family breadwinners--marched off to duty, the number of indigent families in the state began to rise dramatically. Inflation, lack of transportation, a drastically decreased labor force, war taxes, and enemy invasion all created an increasingly desperate economic situation, especially in less affluent northern and southeastern sections of the state. In some places, women and children were reported to be near starvation, bread riots erupted, and begging was common.

      As soldiers became more and more distressed about these developments at home, waves of desertions occurred. Even social relief efforts made by state and local governments in the form of the Military Aid Society, the Samaritan Society, and the Citizen's Relief Association did little to deter the cyclical exodus of fighting men from Confederate units. Southern leaders considered desertion the chief cause of serious miltiary defeats, including those at Atlanta and Gettysburg. Desertions certainly weakened the man power of the Confederacy and lowered the morale of its people.

      According to an _American Historical Review_, this is, "an admirable piece of research, thorough, exhaustive, and painstaking."

      A review in the _Times (London) Literary Supplement_ states, "[In] this scholarly and objective study of great interest and value, we see the romantic illusion of the pre- war decade, the bluster of the fire-eaters...being paid for in the disillusion which followed the easy triumph of the first few months....Instead of regular pay, food, clothing, and unselfish leadership, the rank and file were given rhetoric and general orders."

      Bessie Martin's well-researched study sheds light on the complex nature of desertions by Alabama troops and provides valuable statistical and bibliographic information for contemporary researchers. It will be welcomed anew by Civil War historians and enthusiasts.

      Born in Marion, Alabama, in 1891, Bessie Martin received both her M.A. and Ph.D. in history from Columbia University. She returned to Alabama and taught at Judson College. Mark A. Weitz is Assistant Professor of History at Auburn University Montgomery and author of _A Higher Duty: Desertion Among Georgia Troops During the American Civil War_.

      _A Rich Man's War, A Poor Man's Fight_
      296 pages, 6 illustrations
      6 x 9
      ISBN 0-8173-5010-1
      $24.95t paper

      For orders:  
      The University of Alabama Press, Chicago Distribution Center, 11030 
      S. Langley, Chicago, Illinois 60628, (773) 568-1550 - phone, or (773) 660-2235 - fax.  

      For review copies or more information, contact The 
      University of Alabama Press, Box 870380, 
      Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0380, (205) 348-9534  

      Contact: 
      Priscilla J. McWilliams  
      pjmcwill@... 
      (205) 348-9534 - phone  
      (205) 348-9201 - fax 



      Jessica Lowther
      Marketing - Exhibits & Direct Mail
      Phone: (205) 348-1566
      Fax: (205) 348-9201
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