In their variety, the memoir, poetry, and fiction included in this exciting new anthology show the transitory nature of the literature of southern women who lived through a violent and defining crossroads in their lives. In rare and rediscovered excerpts and verses these women writers evidence the early hopes of a cause destined to be lost, the propagandic rhetoric which accompanied it, and the destruction ultimately visited upon them, their homes, and their families. Paradoxically, even as these women defended and spoke out for a cause concerned in part with extending human bondage, they found themselves forced to experience the harsh wind of freedom and personal agency as their husbands, sons, and fathers abandoned them to their homes and, in many cases, never returned. The editor, who also serves as editor of the literature section of the Virginia Foundation for Humanities' Encyclopedia Virginia, has chosen these pieces carefully and arranged them chronologically or thematically depending on the content of each genre. A book that should prove useful to literary scholars, historians, and anyone possessed of an interest in the Civil War, Women of War brings to light a cornucopia of heretofore obscure women's writings which enrich our understanding of a complex, unsettling time unmatched in our nation's history.
Casey Clabough is the author of eight books, including the internationally acclaimed novel Confederado and George Garrett, A Literary Biography (Texas Review Press, 2013). A past recipient of the Bangladesh International Literary Award, he edits both the literary journal James Dickey Review and the literature section of Encyclopedia Virginia.