Historians have broadened the interpretation of the US Civil War as a battle between the North and the South by revealing the "many Souths" that made up the Confederacy, but the "North" has remained largely undifferentiated as a geopolitical term. In this welcome collection, seven Civil War scholars offer a unique regional perspective on the Civil War by examining how a specific group of Northerners-Midwesterners, known as Westerners and Middle Westerners during the 1860s-experienced the war on the home front. From the exploitation of Confederate prisoners in Ohio to wartime college enrolment in Michigan, these essays reveal how Midwestern men, women, families, and communities became engaged in myriad war-related activities and support.Agriculture figures prominently in the collection, with several contributors exploring the agricultural power of the region and the impact of the war on farming, farm families, and farm women. Contributors also consider student debates and reactions to questions of patriotism, the effect of the war on military families' relationships, issues of women's loyalty and deference to male authority, as well as the treatment of political dissent and dissenters.
Ginette Aley is a Carey Fellow at Kansas State University and an adjunct professor of history at Washburn University. She has published articles in Agricultural History and three Midwestern journals, as well as essays in four books.J. L. Anderson, an associate professor of history at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Alberta, is the author of Industrializing the Corn Belt: Agriculture, Technology, and Environment, 1945-1972.