Book Description

An Eyewitness to the Battles of the Civil War
Provides a Unique Perspective on America's Great Conflict

The Shenandoah Valley Campaigns
by Thomas A. Ashby

The Shenandoah Valley Campaigns takes the unconventional approach of following the events of the Civil War, not by presenting a chronological series of outcomes across a theater of war, but rather by relating events from a fixed perspective, that of a family living in a particular town. Thomas Ashby was indeed a capable eyewitness to the facts, his book is a story seen through the eyes of a boy, who gives observations and communicates experiences that are not usually recounted by historians. The incidents connected with the story are located almost entirely in the Valley of Virginia. One can perceive, in human terms, the wide-ranging effects of conflict as the war unfolded, the economic and social consequences and, perhaps even more importantly, the impact on attitudes and beliefs. Although he is saddened by the huge economic, social and cultural devastation brought about by years of war, Ashby is ultimately unrepentant in his support of secession. However, he does acknowledge that he and many others personally considered slavery to be morally wrong, separating this from the larger issue of the right of self-determination. Ashby even makes the remarkable claim, that if the "doorway" for gradual emancipation could somehow have been established in their Southern culture, the slaveowners could then have expressed their own hidden discomfort and anxiety over the enormous responsibility they had to shoulder in caring for those blacks who worked for them on their estates. The Shenandoah Valley Campaigns is a remarkable work about a vastly tumultuous and historically critical period, one that must be studied at a new level of attention, that of the individual viewpoint.

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Other related titles: Is Secession Treason?, by Albert Bledsoe; The Crisis of the American South, by Hinton Rowan Helper; End of an Era, by John Sergeant Wise

             Book Specifics

    • Full title: The Shenandoah Valley Campaigns: The Life of a Non-Combatant While Between the Lines in Virginia During the Civil War, by Thomas A. Ashby
    • Revised and Enhanced Edition, with new preface and index
    • Imprint: Bylany Press; 230 pages
    • Format: Softcover; 6" x 9"; ISBN: 978-1-932490-50-3

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