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The Life of Johnny Reb: The Common Soldier of the Confederacy by Bell Irvin Wiley

p The Life of Johnny Reb : The Common Soldier of the Confederacy ' by Bell Irvin Wiley

2007

The book The Life of Johnny Reb : The Common Soldier of the Confederacy ' by Bell Irvin Wiley was first published in 1943 , nearly in the middle of World War II , and received an almost unanimous recognition of critics and readers . Currently , more than sixty years later , Wiley 's work is still considered one of the most apt accounts of the American Civil War . The success of the book is preconditioned by several factors firstly

, Wiley was an outstanding scholar specializing in the Civil War so that he had profound knowledge of the subject matter and browsed through countless documents and soldiers ' letters , in to recreate the life of the common soldier of the confederacy . Secondly , the success of the book was and is largely due to the fact that Wiley showed the war not as it is recorded in history books - as a sequence of battles , places and negotiations . Conversely , war is viewed from the inside , through the eyes of ordinary soldiers , who wore shabby uniforms used worn-out rifles , suffered from food shortage , fits of patriotism and cowardice etc

The book is structured as an accurate report of daily life of the Confederate soldiers . Each chapter highlights the most important elements like who did what , when and how . Rather fascinating is Wiley 's attention to seemingly small details , for instance , soldiers ' food leisure time , spent in a variety of ways ranging from gambling to religious congregations . The author also discusses more controversial subjects like Johnny Reb 's ambiguous , nearly fraternal attitude to the man , who is from the opposing camp . The factual material is peppered with unexpected anecdotic turns , which make the book a lively reading By discussing problems of daily life of soldiers , Wiley 's book gives a new insight into the Civil War and prompts us to reconsider some of our common trite attitudes . Firstly , upon reading it , one can realize that the war was actually fought by common soldiers , thousands of Johnny Rebs , but not by generals , and thus it was a personal tragedy . Secondly Reb 's attachment to his enemy clearly indicates that the Southern and Northern Americans weren 't so different , so that they could and would eventually find a way to unite and reconcile

This book is a must ' for all Civil War students and historians , as well as ordinary Americans who want to look at a familiar issue from a strikingly different angle

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_The Life of Johnny Reb : The Common Soldier of the Confederacy by Bell Irvin Wiley

DATE : July 25 , 2007...

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