Bodies in Blue
In the popular imagination, Civil War disability is virtually synonymous with amputation. But war affects the body in countless ways, many of them understudied by historians. In Bodies in Blue, Sarah Handley-Cousins expands and complicates our understanding of wartime disability by examining a variety of bodies and ailments, ranging from the temporary to the chronic, from disease to injury, and encompassing both physical and mental conditions. She studies the cases of well-known individuals, such as Union general Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, alongside many cases drawn from the ranks to provide a more comprehensive view of how soldiers, civilians, and institutions grappled with war-related disability in the Civil War-era North.During the Civil War and long after, the bodies of Union soldiers and veterans were sites of powerful cultural beliefs about duty and sacrifice. However, the realities of living with a disability were ever at odds with the expectations of manhood. As a consequence, men who failed to perform the role of wounded warrior properly could be scrutinized for failing to live up to standards of martial masculinity. Under the gaze of surgeons, officers, bureaucrats, and civilians, disabled soldiers made difficult negotiations in their attempts to accommodate impaired bodies and please observers. Some managed this process with ease; others struggled and suffered. Embracing and exploring this apparent contradiction, Bodies in Blue pushes Civil War history in a new direction.

Bodies in Blue Details

TitleBodies in Blue
ReleaseJul 1st, 2019
PublisherUniversity of Georgia Press
GenreHistory, North American Hi..., American History, Disability, Nonfiction, Military History, Civil War

Bodies in Blue Review

  • Heather Bennett
    January 1, 1970
    Bodies in Blue is a important book that anyone interested in the war or injured soldiers should read. It is well researched and well written.
  • Cristie Underwood
    January 1, 1970
    The author's painstaking research and attention to detail is obvious in the writing of this book. There were many facts that I only discovered after reading this!
  • Sarah Handley-Cousins
    January 1, 1970
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