Academic journal article Military Review

Like Men of War: Black Troops in the Civil War, 1862-1865

Academic journal article Military Review

Like Men of War: Black Troops in the Civil War, 1862-1865

Article excerpt

LIKE MEN OF WAR: Black Troops in the Civil War, 1862-1865, by Noah Andrew Trudeau. 576 pages. Little Brown and Company, New York, NY. 1998. $18.00.

The British poet Lord George Byron once complained about making heroes of every character with passing notoriety: "Every week and month sends forth a new one," he lamented. The same might be said of books on the American Civil War, With increasing regularity bookstore shelves are filled with "new" analyses of major battles or "undiscovered" diaries, notebooks or battle plans that offer "fresh insight" into the United States' most traumatic conflict. All but the most ardent devotees must be wondering how much more can really be said.

The answer, in part, lies in Noah Trudeau's new book, Like Men of War. This detailed and engaging study of African American soldiers' contributions to the Union's war effort will interest even the most jaded Civil War scholar. Using materials long available in the public domain but seldom, if ever, examined with such meticulous care, Trudeau reveals how Blacks from the South, often with inadequate arms and vir@ tually no training in the art of war, fought honorably under the Stars and Stripes. By the end of the war, nearly 180,000 had enlisted. …

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