In the presence of mine enemies : war in the heart of America, 1859-1863 /
Edward L. Ayers.
1st ed.
New York : Norton, c2003.
xxi, 472 p. : ill., facsims., maps, ports. ; 25 cm.
0393057860 (hardcover)
More Details
New York : Norton, c2003.
0393057860 (hardcover)
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Edward L. Ayers is Hugh P. Kelly Professor of History at the University of Virginia.
This item was nominated for the following awards:
Bancroft Prize, USA, 2004 : Won
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2004-04-01:
Ayers (Univ. of Virginia) uses research amassed in his remarkable Internet project The Valley of the Shadow (CH, Oct'01) to tell the story of two similar but contrasting communities during the Civil War. Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, with surrounding Franklin County, and Staunton, Virginia, with surrounding Augusta County, both lay in the fertile and pleasant Great Valley of the Appalachians. Their people were similar in many ways. However, Franklin was free and Augusta, slave. This fact led to a plethora of cultural differences and, most importantly, to their loyalty to opposite sides in the Civil War. Beginning with John Brown's 1859 raid on Harper's Ferry and continuing to the eve of the battle of Gettysburg, Ayers weaves together the stories of these two communities. Fascinating discussions deal with such issues as who enlisted in the army and why, and who remained behind and what they did there. While it may be open to debate whether the valley of the Appalachians was the "heart of America" even in the 1860s, this is nevertheless an excellent book that displays in clear and engaging style a previously neglected facet of the Civil War. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. All levels and libraries. S. E. Woodworth Texas Christian University
Appeared in Library Journal on 2003-05-15:
Head of the "Valley of the Shadow" project, a multidimensional work whose web site purportedly gets more hits than any other Civil War site, noted historian Ayers promises to change our view of that conflict. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2003-05-26:
Two counties, one in Virginia and one in Pennsylvania, are united by the vast Shenandoah Valley, but divided by the Mason-Dixon line. As late as 1859, these border counties, and by extension their respective states, saw themselves not on opposite sides of a divided nation but as the historic and contemporary heart of a country where such forces as a shared history and a common language made civil war inconceivable. The inhabitants of both counties initially prided themselves on resisting provocation by fire-eaters in the far North and the deep South. Ironically, they eventually committed themselves fully, sacrificing blood and wealth unstintingly to a conflict few of them welcomed. That process, however, was by no means straightforward, as Ayers (The Promise of the New South) brilliantly shows. If Confederate supporters in Augusta County, Va., ultimately accepted slavery as the touchstone of their social order, they also insisted they were fighting for the right to be left alone, free of a Northern influence perceived as increasingly alien. Their counterparts in Pennsylvania's Franklin County went to war not to destroy slavery but to prevent the South from destroying the Union by leaving it. Emancipation grew from the contingencies of war-and not the least of these was the increasing determination of black Americans to take charge of their own destinies, thereby challenging at its roots the social contract established by the revolution of 1776. Ayers tells his complex story with a master's touch, shifting smoothly between North and South, and between the lesser worlds of his two counties and the wider events of the war that changed them both utterly. He pauses with Lee's invasion of Pennsylvania in 1863, just before the Battle of Gettysburg-a decision both intellectually and aesthetically satisfying. This volume lays the groundwork; we are left to anticipate the climax and the denouement to be presented in its successor. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
This item was reviewed in:
Kirkus Reviews,
Library Journal, May 2003
Publishers Weekly, May 2003
Library Journal, June 2003
Booklist, July 2003
Choice, April 2004
Reference & Research Book News, May 2004
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Bowker Data Service Summary
Ayers gives us a Civil War on an intimate scale. It emerges from the lives of everyday people and ends with the valley ravaged, Lincoln's support fragmenting, and Confederate forces massing for battle at Gettysburg.
Unpaid Annotation
Our standard Civil War histories tell a reassuring story of an inevitable conflict and the triumph of the dynamic, free-labor North over the traditional, slave-based South, a victory that vindicated the freedom principles built into the nation's foundations. But at the time, on the borderlands of Pennsylvania and Virginia, no one expected war, and no one knew how it would turn out. The one certainty was that any war between the states would be fought in their fields and streets. Edward Ayers gives us the Civil War on an intimate scale, at ground level. His masterful narrative conveys the coming of war and its bloody encounters through the eyes of the newspaper editors, ministers, farmers, merchants, soldiers, African Americans slave and free, husbands and wives, fathers and sons, who sacrificed, fought, and died. The story ends in 1863 with the borderlands ravaged, Lincoln's support fragmenting, and Confederate forces massing for a battle at Gettysburg.
Unpaid Annotation
Through a gripping narrative based on massive new research, a leading historian tells a reassuring story of the triumph, in an inevitable conflict, of the dynamic, free-labor North over the traditional, slave-based South, vindicating the freedom principles built into the nation's foundations.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrationsp. xi
List of Mapsp. xv
Prefacep. xvii
Green Pastures and Still Waters: Fall 1859 to Fall 1860p. 1
Paths of Righteousness: Winter 1860 to Summer 1861p. 93
The Shadow of Death: Summer 1861 to Summer 1862p. 189
The Presence of Mine Enemies: Fall 1862 to Summer 1863p. 277
Codap. 416
Notesp. 419
Acknowledgmentsp. 455
Indexp. 459
Table of Contents provided by Rittenhouse. All Rights Reserved.

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