Sunday, February 19, 2012

Just Finished Reading

Like the Missouri book I read last, this book consisted of primary source accounts giving diverse perspectives. Unlike the Missouri book though, this work was 475 pages. It obviously took a while to get through it and it seemed the editor included some accounts that could probably have been left out. From the documents the editor selected, Maryland's story is both similar and different from Missouri and Kentucky's. For example, it appears that Maryland had a much easier time accomplishing emancipation than did Kentucky and Missouri, but Maryland seemed to have suffered worse in political arrests than the other two.

Covered thoroughly in the book, and of special interest, was the riot that resulted in Baltimore on April 19, 1861, when Massachusetts troops attempted to pass through the city on the way to defend Washington D.C. The incident highlighted Baltimore's divided nature and significant Confederate sympathy and left a number of citizens and soldiers dead and wounded. And, while the Eastern Shore and Baltimore had southern leanings, western Maryland was largely Unionist, although still with pockets of secessionists.

The book is divided into three main sections: "Indecision," "Occupation," and "Liberation," with either four or five subsections in each. Also, the book included a number of rare photographs and images the helped tell Maryland's story. Maryland Voices of the Civil War did an excellent job of expressing the thoughts of those on the home front, but I wish there had more excerpts from Union and Confederate soldiers in the field that gave their opinions of what they heard was happening back in the state.

On scale of 1 to 5, I give it a 3.75; it was certainly worth the read, but in my opinion it could have been edited down some.

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