I Die with My Country: Perspectives on the Paraguayan War, 1864-1870

I Die with My Country: Perspectives on the Paraguayan War, 1864-1870

I Die with My Country: Perspectives on the Paraguayan War, 1864-1870

I Die with My Country: Perspectives on the Paraguayan War, 1864-1870

Synopsis

The Paraguayan War (1864–70) was the most extensive and profound interstate war ever fought in South America. It directly involved the four countries of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay and took the lives of hundreds of thousands, combatants and noncombatants alike. While the war still stirs emotions on the southern continent, until today few scholars from outside the region have taken on the daunting task of analyzing the conflict. In this compilation of ten essays, historians from Canada, the United States, Germany, Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay address its many tragic complexities. Each scholar examines a particular facet of the war, including military mobilization, home-front activities, the war's effects on political culture, war photography, draft resistance, race issues, state formation, and the role of women in the war. The editors' introduction provides a balance to the many perspectives collected here while simultaneously integrating them into a comprehensible whole, thus making the book a compelling read for social historians and military buffs alike.

Excerpt

This book originated as a panel on the Paraguayan War organized by Hendrik Kraay for the Society for Military History (SMH) annual conference at the University of Calgary in May 2001. The timing for this panel seemed perfect, reflecting a renewed interest in that war among historians in Argentina, Brazil, and the United States. The rapt attention that the audience gave the panel was another positive indicator. Jerry Cooney, Roger Kittleson, Juan Manuel Casal, and Kraay presented papers, and Thomas L. Whigham provided commentary. Over dinner Whigham also suggested collecting the essays together into a book. We subsequently laid the groundwork for this volume during a hike in the beautiful Canadian Rockies just outside Banff. Cooney and Kittleson revised their SMH papers, while Casal, Kraay, and Whigham wrote new ones. In the months that followed, four other contributors joined the project.

Assembling a coherent compilation from the work of nine historians based in six countries and speaking four languages presented more than a few editorial headaches. For the sake of consistency we have adopted a number of conventions. Argentine, Brazilian, Paraguayan, and Uruguayan place names are spelled according to the modern orthography in their respective countries. Thus the Brazilian town of Uruguaiana always appears with its modern Portuguese spelling, though its Spanish-speaking neighbors know it as “Uruguayana.” Similarly, for battles we use the Spanish name, given that the major ones took place in Spanish-speaking countries. In a few cases, however, where the Brazilians know the battle by a completely different name, we include the alternative in brackets. Following contemporary (and modern) Brazilian usage, people mentioned in chapters 4, 5, and 6 are referred to by the name by which they were most commonly known, frequently the most distinctive part of their first or last names. For example, Benjamin Constant Botelho de Magalhães, the subject of Renato Lemos’s chapter, is known as Benjamin Constant, his two first names and not his last name. No disrespect is implied in this usage.

As editors we have accumulated some considerable debts in putting together this compilation. At various points in the project we benefited from the counsel of Loren “Pat” Patterson, Barbara Ganson, Peter Beattie, and Daniel Hayworth. Wendy Giminski and the staff at the University of Georgia’s Graphic Arts Department did an excellent job in designing maps for the volume. As readers for the University of Nebraska Press, Peter Beattie and Vitor Izecksohn provided helpful comments and suggestions for revision. Our thanks to all.

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