The War Outside My Window: The Civil War Diary of Leroy Wiley Gresham, 1860-1865

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Product Details

Savas Beatie
Publish Date
6.2 X 9.0 X 1.2 inches | 1.7 pounds

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About the Author

Janet E. Croon holds a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science, Modern European History, and Russian Language and Area Studies from the Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1983), and a Master's Degree in International Studies from the Univ. of Dayton (1985). She taught International Baccalaureate History for nearly two decades for Fairfax County Public Schools and developed a deep interest in the Civil War by living in northern Virginia. She is also the author of The War Outside My Window: The Civil War Diary of LeRoy Wiley Gresham, 1860-1865: A Comprehensive Curriculum Guide for Teachers (with Kimberly Conrad).


"The War Outside My Window is a remarkable diary that illuminates important aspects of mid-19th-century American life. Kept by a Georgia teenager coping with a fatal disease, it affords modern readers the best record I have encountered of the daily suffering and treatment of a terminally ill person during the Civil War era. Beyond the rich evidence relating to LeRoy Wiley Gresham's illness and Victorian medicine, it includes a bountiful array of observations about military, political, and social elements of the Civil War as witnessed from the Confederate home front. Alternately instructive, moving, and disturbing, this diary deserves a wide audience."--Gary W. Gallagher, Nau Professor of History, University of Virginia
"The War Outside My Window is really a window looking into the thoughts and perceptions of a doomed teenager who watched the Confederacy die even as he was dying himself. Intimate, observant, thoughtful, often amusing, his diary offers a heartrending portrait of courage and resilience by a young man robbed of his youth, one personal tragedy amid the decline and collapse of the South. Pitiably few records survive to give us an understanding of the inner world of the young in the Civil War era. LeRoy Gresham's "Window" lets in more light on the subject than any other source we have."--William C. Davis, author of Inventing Loreta Velasquez
"As The War Outside My Window aptly demonstrates, LeRoy Wiley Gresham was a fascinating young man possessed of wit, insight, and eloquence, all while suffering from the ravages of a terminal disease. His diary (published here for the first time) is simultaneously fascinating, insightful, compelling, and tragic. Anyone interested in the home front in the South during the Civil War, slavery, family, and the travails of doomed youth will find this book a real treasure. It deserves a wide audience well beyond the Civil War community, and a place on your bookshelf. Kudos to Savas Beatie and editor Janet Croon for bringing this story to life."--Eric J. Wittenberg, award-winning Civil War historian
"In The War Outside My Window, an articulate Southern teenager records his observations on military, political, and social events as they unfold, mostly outside the sphere of his confinement in Macon, Georgia, as the Union juggernaut slowly devours the resources of the Confederacy. But windows go both ways, and this unique diary also grants readers unprecedented access into a parallel internal battle being waged by a spunky youth whose comfort, vigor, and life itself are being devoured by the fatal medical scourge of the nineteenth century. This poignant account of LeRoy's courageous, but ultimately unsuccessful personal struggle is certain to grip your heart. Civil War students and medical historians alike will find a rich and rare trove of primary source material in this unique five-year chronicle."--Dennis A. Rasbach, MD, FACS, author of Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain and the Petersburg Campaign
"The War Outside My Window offers a powerful, entertaining, and insightful glimpse into the world of the Civil War from an unlikely author. Twelve years old and suffering from a severe leg injury when the war began, LeRoy Gresham took to his diary to explore the turbulent world around him in a candid and often humorous manner. Covering serious topics such as slavery and politics as well as the more light-hearted concerns of a young boy, Gresham's account reminds us that the war touched those far removed from the battlefield even as the more routine aspects of life continued. While the war raged beyond Gresham's window, this never-before published diary is itself a rare window into the Civil War home front."--Caroline E. Janney, author of Remembering the Civil War: Reunion and the Limits of Reconciliation
"The volume gains poignancy from Gresham's incomplete final writing... likely to be of most interest to historians or serious students of the period."--Hannah Kushnick "Publisher's Weekly "
"The publication of this edited and annotated source has made an absorbing account of the Civil War South from the perspective of a privileged but afflicted youth available and accessible to a broad audience." --Anya Jabour, Regents Professor of History at the University of Montana
"A fascinating record. It is a sign of Croon's accomplishment as an editor that . . . the reader really does not care all that much about the larger world of the ill-fated Confederacy, so completely does this diary take us into the pathos and pity of a more private world that really blots out the war outside its window." --Social History of Medicine
"...a fascinating picture from the eyes of a young man as the South slowly changes during the course of the war, from the heady early days to the slow realization that the South was going to lose. While LeRoy Gresham might not have been directly involved in the politics of the town, he kept up on the ever-shifting news and often provides his own opinions... a fascinating look into civilian life."--Tulsa Book Review