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Songs of the Civil War

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Songs of the Civil War
Compiled and Edited by Irwin Silber. Music Arrangements by Jerry Silverman. (Dover Publications, Mineola, New York: 1995. Illustrated. Pg. ix, 385. 17 photographs, 19 illustrations.) ISBN: 0-486-28438-7.

Reviewed by Auggie Moore - January 2, 2009

The American Civil War (1861-65) was destined to forever alter the face of American society, politics, and culture. One of the outgrowths of this conflict was a wealth of new and adapted songs that allowed people on all sides of the conflict to express a range of emotions including military bravado, adulation, fear, joy, pain, grief, and anger.

For historians, singers, and sociologist, Songs of the Civil War, compiled and edited by Irwin Silber is an invaluable resource on songs from this period. This book contains 125, truly American songs, with complete verses for all the songs. Each song is accompanied, when applicable, with the verses for variations of the song. Scores for easy piano and guitar chords are provided for each song.

The songs in this collection are organized into nine thematic sections covering topics such as Each section begins with a detailed introduction that provides historic details about the period and which examines the history and development of each song included in the section.

This is an outstanding collection of Civil War songs, and it includes such well-known classics as Battle Hymn of the Republic, Dixie, When Johnny Comes Marching Home, John Brown's Body, The Yellow Rose of Texas, and The Blue and the Gray as well as lesser know works such as Grafted into the Army, We Wait Beneath the Furnace Blast, Flight of Doodles, The Brass-Mounted Army, and Do They Miss Me in the Trenches. Combined, this range of songs provides an excellent sampling of popular and typical songs of the Civil War. This book will prove a valuable resource to not only singers and musicians, but also American and Civil War historians and enthusiasts, as well as students of popular music.

Related Reviews:

Crossroads of Freedom: Antietam, by James M. McPherson.
The Battle That Changed the Course of the Civil War, this compelling history chronicles the battle that took place on September 17, 1862 near Sharpsburg, Maryland. This day remains the single most deadly days in American history, and the outcome of the battle was to change the course of the Civil War.

Gettysburg, Day Three, by Jeffry D. Wert.
Wert, a respected Civil War historian, chronicles, in exacting detail, the entirety of the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg, a battle which was to change the course of a war.

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