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Bushwhackers and Broken Hearts: Letters from Missouri during the Civil War

P. J. Sullivan (Author)

ISBN: 0-7414-5882-9 ©2010
Price: $9.95
Book Size: 5.5'' x 8.5'' , 82 pages
Category/Subject: HISTORY / United States / Civil War Period (1850-1877)

Real letters by real people who wrote from the heart. An intimate glimpse into a side of the American Civil War rarely mentioned in history books—the human side.

This non-fiction book portrays life in rural Missouri during the War between the States. Candid letters to a Union soldier give intimate glimpses into the lives of his people back home. Here is a side of the Civil War not found in history books—the human side. It is a saga of love and infidelity, of patriotism and desertion, of troubled birth and tragic death, of commodity prices and crying babies—the stuff of daily life in a Missouri torn apart by fear and animosity. Authentic Civil War letters, fully annotated and discussed.

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Customer Reviews

  , 08/02/2010
Reviewer: Dr. Stephen S. Bantz
The book is a highly creative and laborious undertaking, in which PJ Sullivan edits a series of letters written by some of his own kin from Missouri, material otherwise doomed to quiet neglect on microfilm or disintegrating in the odd museum, which he reordered into correspondences depicting the utter brutality of the US Civil War, first hand. One glance at a map emphasizes how far northerly this focus of conflict ranged, St. Louis at that time a key arsenal along the Mississippi, its neighboring townships constantly subjected to guerilla campaigns and defections in an endlessly drawn out disease ridden war. Neutrality was never an option, with the 'enemy' ever present and listening, arbitrariness reigning, and slavery but a minor issue. In bold typed remarks following scarcely ledgible, unpunctuated, often repetitious letters by the semi-literate, PJ Sullivan clarifies their contexts. Many extend greetings of hope, others remain subtly contemptuous in their prevailing double-standard agendas. The book takes on a crescendo, becoming increasingly comprehensible and intense, the bold-typed commentaries receding, until all clarity crumbles until the dust clears - the war is over! Thematically, the main protagonist distances himself from his unfaithful wife, his mother airing her own particular disapproval, then eventually succumbs to any number of factors. For a tidy sum, syndicate boss JP Morgan 'donates' 5000 flawed rifles to the Union cause - given to blowing snipers' thumbs off. Local militias, distilleries and ever new epidemics prosper, freed slaves begin to congregate in St. Louis.... This is history told from the bottom up, independent of contemporary interpretation. On occasion the reader must re-read fragments to arrive at their own conclusions, as traditions and social structures collapse with little semblance of romantic heroism, letters perhaps the last threads of social cohesion. In contrast, most epic films and literature of the time appear tainted. If superior books are for the few, may PJ Sullivan's growing legacy invite a few more readers. Dr. Stephen S. Bantz, Berlin, Germany

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  Great history read! , 11/25/2011
Reviewer: Steve Wunderle
I just loved this book from the opening page until the last. If you love history and the civil war period, then this book is for you. These people have left a legacy of their life during a difficult period. You will ask yourself many questions what these people were thinking and you can only guess at their answers. I wrote a note to Mr. Sullivan telling him we need more letters from this time period for us to read as well as those who knew of these ancestors. I felt I was there during that moment in time. You will not be disappointed in this book. A great read for students in high school or college.

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