Children and Youth during the Civil War Era

282 pages

10 illustrations

January, 2012

ISBN: 9780814796085



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James Marten is Professor and Chair of the History Department at Marquette University. He is author or editor of more than a dozen books including The Children’s Civil War and four NYU Press books: Children and War: A Historical Anthology; Children in Colonial America; Children and Youth in a New Nation; and Children and Youth during the Civil War Era.

All books by James Marten

The Civil War is a much plumbed area of scholarship, so much so that at times it seems there is no further work to be done in the field. However, the experience of children and youth during that tumultuous time remains a relatively unexplored facet of the conflict. Children and Youth during the Civil War Era seeks a deeper investigation into the historical record by and giving voice and context to their struggles and victories during this critical period in American history.

Prominent historians and rising scholars explore issues important to both the Civil War era and to the history of children and youth, including the experience of orphans, drummer boys, and young soldiers on the front lines, and even the impact of the war on the games children played in this collection. Each essay places the history of children and youth in the context of the sectional conflict, while in turn shedding new light on the sectional conflict by viewing it through the lens of children and youth. A much needed, multi-faceted historical account, Children and Youth during the Civil War Era touches on some of the most important historiographical issues with which historians of children and youth and of the Civil War home front have grappled over the last few years.


  • "Many of the authors move beyond traditional historical sources to incorporate evidence from literature, visual art, and popular culture...highly recommended."

    —S. Ferentinos, CHOICE

  • "The anthology covers a wide range of subjects under the general rubric of children in the Civil War era. In so doing, it does much to address previous voids."

    —Wilma King, The North Carolina Historical Review

  • "A solid collection of essays, organized coherently around a set of important questions, that will be of interest to both students and scholars."

    History of Education

  • "The essays in this volume provide an engaging look at the history of youth during a pivotal era in our nation's history and should spark fruitful class discussions as well as further historical inquiry and research."

    The Journal of American History

  • "This is a suggestive and moving volume...each essay seems rich with meaning."

    —Lyde Cullen Sizer

  • "Marten's book is a must for anybody interested in Civil War history."

    —Edmund L. Drago, The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

  • Children and Youth during the Civil War Era brings together thirteen excellent essays by both established and emerging scholars of children and the Civil War. Offering both breadth and depth and considering both images of childhood and children¹s own experiences, the essays address slavery, sectionalism, war, emancipation, reconstruction, and memory from multiple vantage points. A selection of documents further enrich this anthology, which represents the burgeoning field of childhood and youth in the Civil War era.”

    —Anya Jabour, author of Topsy-Turvy: How the Civil War Turned the World Upside Down for Southern Children