Ruin Nation Destruction and the American Civil War

ISBN-10: 0820342513
ISBN-13: 9780820342511
Edition: 2012
List price: $24.95 Buy it from $17.86
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Description: During the Civil War, cities, houses, forests, and soldiers’ bodies were transformed into “dead heaps of ruins,” novel sights in the southern landscape. How did this happen, and why? And what did Americans—northern and southern, black and white,  More...

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Book details

List price: $24.95
Copyright year: 2012
Publisher: University of Georgia Press
Publication date: 5/15/2012
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 400
Size: 6.50" wide x 9.25" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.320
Language: English

During the Civil War, cities, houses, forests, and soldiers’ bodies were transformed into “dead heaps of ruins,” novel sights in the southern landscape. How did this happen, and why? And what did Americans—northern and southern, black and white, male and female—make of this proliferation of ruins?Ruin Nationis the first book to bring together environmental and cultural histories to consider the evocative power of ruination as an imagined state, an act of destruction, and a process of change.Megan Kate Nelson examines the narratives and images that Americans produced as they confronted the war’s destructiveness. Architectural ruins—cities and houses—dominated the stories that soldiers and civilians told about the “savage” behavior of men and the invasions of domestic privacy. The ruins of living things—trees and bodies—also provoked discussion and debate. People who witnessed forests and men being blown apart were plagued by anxieties about the impact of wartime technologies on nature and on individual identities.The obliteration of cities, houses, trees, and men was a shared experience. Nelson shows that this is one of the ironies of the war’s ruination—in a time of the most extreme national divisiveness people found common ground as they considered the war’s costs. And yet, very few of these ruins still exist, suggesting that the destructive practices that dominated the experiences of Americans during the Civil War have been erased from our national consciousness.

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Introduction. American Ruins
Our Own Pompeii: Ruined Cities
Lone Chimneys: Domestic Ruins
Battle Logs: Ruined Forests
Empty Sleeves and Government Legs: The Ruins of Men
Conclusion. The Ruins of History
Notes
Bibliography
Index

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