Upon the Altar of the Nation: A Moral History of the Civil War

Upon the Altar of the Nation: A Moral History of the Civil War

by Harry S. Stout


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A profound and timely examination of the moral underpinnings of the War Between the States

The Civil War was not only a war of armies but also a war of ideas, in which Union and Confederacy alike identified itself as a moral nation with God on its side. In this watershed book, Harry S. Stout measures the gap between those claims and the war’s actual conduct. Ranging from the home front to the trenches and drawing on a wealth of contemporary documents, Stout explores the lethal mix of propaganda and ideology that came to justify slaughter on and off the battlefield. At a time when our country is once again at war, Upon the Altar of the Nation is a deeply necessary book.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780143038764
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/27/2007
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 576
Sales rank: 616,650
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Harry S. Stout is the Jonathan Edwards Professor of American Religious History at Yale University and the author of The New England Soul. He has received an NEH Research Fellowship and a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, among other awards. Currently the editor of the twenty-seven volume series of The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Professor Stout has coedited the seventeen-volume series Religion and American Life designed for public schools.

Table of Contents

Part IPreparation: Patriots All November 1860 to July 1861
Chapter 1"The Spirit of the South is Rising"9
Chapter 2"Let the Strife Begin"17
Chapter 3"Our Flag Carries ... American History"26
Chapter 4"The Day of the Populace"35
Chapter 5"To Recognize Our Dependence Upon God"47
Chapter 6"The Church Will Sound the Trumpets"53
Part IIRomanticization: The Making of Heroes July 1861 to March 1862
Chapter 7The Battle of Bull Run: "A Total and Disgraceful Rout"61
Chapter 8Triumphalism: "Adorned by the Name of God"73
Chapter 9"Will Not the Martyrs Be Blessed ...?"82
Chapter 10"To Humble Ourselves Before God"95
Chapter 11"Is It Not Grand ...?"100
Chapter 12"The Popular Heart"110
Chapter 13"Religion Has Grown Warlike"118
Part IIIDescent: Hard War, Spilled Blood April 1862 to October 1862
Chapter 14"What Scenes of Bloodshed"127
Chapter 15"God Wills This Contest"139
Chapter 16Antietam: "The Horrors of a Battlefield"150
Chapter 17"Broken Hearts Cannot be Photographed"156
Part IVJustification: The Emancipation War October 1862 to May 1863
Chapter 18"All Who Die for Country Now, Die Also for Humanity"167
Chapter 19Lincoln, Emancipation, and Total War182
Chapter 20Fredericksburg: "So Foolhardy an Adventure"191
Chapter 21"God Has Granted Us a Happy New Year"199
Chapter 22"As Savage as Savages"210
Part VTransformation: Hearts Invested May 1863 to April 1864
Chapter 23Chancellorsville: "The Chamber of Death"223
Chapter 24Gettysburg: "Field of Blood, and Death"231
Chapter 25"For the Sake of the Cause"238
Chapter 26"A Political Worship"248
Chapter 27"The Rock of Chickamauga"259
Chapter 28"In That Immortal Field"265
Chapter 29"The Present Unholy War"277
Chapter 30"From Head to Heart"286
Part VIProportion: The Soldiers' Total War May 1864 to August 1864
Chapter 31"I Can Only Think of Hell Upon Earth"295
Chapter 32"No Pledge to Make But Action"308
Chapter 33"The Most Interesting Men in the Country"321
Chapter 34"If It Takes All Summer"329
Chapter 35"June 3. Cold Harbor. I was Killed."338
Part VIIDiscrimination: A Civilian War August 1864 to February 1865
Chapter 36"The Pious Men Will be Held Up As the Greatest of Patriots"353
Chapter 37"If They Want Peace They ... Must Stop the War"360
Chapter 38"Red October": "The Work of Destruction"375
Chapter 39"A Vote for Principle, for Conscience, for Christ"386
Chapter 40"I can Make This March, and Make Georgia Howl!"393
Chapter 41"Uphold the Cause and Strengthen the Hands of the Faithful"406
Chapter 42"Vengeance Upon South Carolina"413
Part VIIIReconciliation: Making an End to Build a Future
Chapter 43"Let Us Strive on to Finish the Work We Are in"425
Chapter 44"Richmond! Babylon is Fallen!!"434
Chapter 45"The Man Dies, But the Cause Lives"448

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Upon the Altar of the Nation: A Moral History of the Civil War 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really liked the book. It is a sweeping review of the intellectual and physical tides that the civil war evolved from and swam in for four years of war. Very balanced. I particulary enjoyed the information on art and songs of the war. His epilogue is well put together. Some really good quotes to use with students as well. War is such a tragedy - even if wars can be good wars and accompish much like this one did.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Stout's analysis of the Civil War is nothing less than remarkable. He engages the reader in both analysis and assessment of the causality, morality, and justness of the Civil War. This book is an abolute must read. Don't let the length fool you, once I picked this book up I could not put it down. As a Grad student in History, this was possibly one of the best books I've read in years, comparable to James McPherson and other great historians. Stout has done a magnificent job!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the book all Civil War buffs have been waiting for. Simply captivating. You need to read it. Stout does a fabulous job of putting forth a new look at an old story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Stout seems to think that an inability to keep casulty lists low was immoral and that leaders should have simply given up the fight because of this. He does little to explain why most leaders accepted high casulties and war on civilian morale in order to achieve their war goals. Numerous errors from the trivial to the most important. Only his examination of the clergy's view of the war his truly worth while.
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