Courage Under Fire: Profiles in Bravery from the Battlefields of the Civil War
Wiley Sword (yes, that is the real name of a very fine historian of the American Civil War) offers a view of the Civil War by describing how some of the participants, both known and forgotten, dealt with the stress and rigor of combat and related horrors of total war. Most of the characters behave in a truly heroic manner, and their life stories remind us how war can provide us with inspirational examples of selfless sacrifice. Others behave less admirably and their stories remind us of the fine line between bravery and cowardice. Those covered range from General Patrick Cleburne, General George Thomas, and President Abraham Lincoln to common soldiers like Sullivan Ballou, John Yeates Beall, and Asa Weston. Sword is a talented writer and has provided us with a very different way of looking at 1861-1865.