Awaiting the Heavenly Country: The Civil War and America's Culture of Death

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Product Details
$29.95  $27.85
Cornell University Press
Publish Date
6.48 X 9.17 X 0.9 inches | 1.08 pounds

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About the Author

Mark S. Schantz is Professor of History and Director of the Odyssey Program at Hendrix College.


"Awaiting the Heavenly Country is a first-rate book with careful research on an intriguing subject. It makes an important contribution to the understandin of the Civil War era."

--Lance J. Herdegen "America's Civil War "

"Schantz makes a compelling case that Americans' experiences with, and ideas about, death before the Civil War made it possible for them to understand--and even celebrate--death caused by the war.... He is especially perceptive at describing mourning rituals, the literature on heaven as a place of family reunion with full bodily restoration, the rural cemetery movement, and the illustration of death in lithographs, photography, and painting.... A sobering assessment for anyone who imagines war as a purifying process."

--Library Journal

"Schantz persuasively documents a coherent nineteenth-century 'culture of death' that shielded Civil War Americans from despair in the face of devestating loss. All religious traditions aim to make sense of a death-dealing cosmos, but the evangelical Protestant culture of the antebellum United States created more elaborate mourning rituals, more overt expressions of anguish, and more reassurances of reunion than previous generations of Americans had known. The culture of death, Schantz argues, provided the resources that encouraged soldiers to risk death and civilians to accept their disapppearance."

--T. J. Jackson Lears "Bookforum "

"Schantz writes about that harvest of death... with insight and sensitivity--even eloquence."

--James M. McPherson "New York Review of Books "

"The revival of a Classical martial code; a maniacally detailed vision of Heaven; a rural cemetery movement that guaranteed a safe resting place--all these things together, Schantz argues, prepared American soldiers for death on the battlefield. In his view, it wasn't the bloody war that made the rituals; it was the rituals that enabled the bloody war."

--Adam Gopnik "The New Yorker "