Jewish Soldiers in the Civil War: The Union Army


Product Details

New York University Press
Publish Date
7.0 X 10.1 X 1.0 inches | 2.2 pounds

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About the Author

Adam D. Mendelsohn is Associate Professor of History and Director of the Kaplan Centre for Jewish Studies at the University of Cape Town. He is the author of The Rag Race: How Jews Sewed Their Way to Success in America and the British Empire and co-editor of Jews and the Civil War: A Reader and Transnational Traditions: New Perspectives on American Jewish History.


"The most significant reexamination of American Jewry and the Civil War in over seventy years, and the first to take advantage of the Shapell Roster, a new comprehensive data archive documenting the war's Jewish soldiers. Replete with fresh insights and surprising information, all carefully validated and brilliantly recounted. An instant classic!"--Jonathan D. Sarna, University Professor and Joseph H. & Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History, Brandeis University
"An innovative, astute, and beautifully crafted study of the Jewish experience in the Union Army during the Civil War. Mendelsohn offers original--and often surprising--observations about antisemitism in the army and Jewish attitudes towards military service, religious observance in the field, slavery, and Emancipation. Jewish Soldiers in the Civil War has a broad comparative sweep, employs meticulous scholarship, and is a pleasure to read."--Derek Penslar, author of Jews and the Military: A History
"A probing and incisive account of Jewish participation in the Union Army during the Civil War. Drawing upon a decade's worth of research to establish an accurate count of Jewish soldiers, Mendelsohn situates this new data within a broad historical canvas, gracefully debunking many established interpretations."--Deborah Dash Moore, author of GI Jews: How World War II Changed a Generation
"Jewish Soldiers in the Civil War provides the first comprehensive, credible, and thoroughly fascinating account of the lives of Mr. Lincoln's Jewish soldiers. Together with the planned companion volume for the Confederate forces, this lavishly illustrated book will allow us to grasp the full impact of the Civil War on American Jewish communities, while placing the Jewish dimension within the national context. With precise attention to individual stories as well as the social and economic factors that led men to enlist--or not to enlist--Mendelsohn's empathetic yet unsparing approach honors the men in battle, revisits perennial themes of ethnicity, religion, and race, and sensitively weighs the awful dilemmas facing men and women in an hour of national crisis."--Eli Lederhendler, author of American Jewry: A New History
"Compelling and complex. The author examines the overall Jewish experience, including why they enlisted and how they sought community during the war. Highly recommended as a work that will make a fine addition to a comprehensive Civil War collection."-- "Library Journal"
"An indication of the depth and breadth, energy and inquisitiveness, which the author applied to the project. The result is an astonishingly complete treatment of a previously obscured facet of the history of the war that redefined America and its future. Mendelsohn reveals a human side that is common to all men under arms, a great gamut of emotion shared regardless of religious faith or political leanings."--Military History Now
"Readers will engage all sorts of particular stories, tracing the experiences of individuals or highlighting significant themes, often set aside with accompanying illustrations."-- "Keith Harris History"
"[T]here's good stuff here, and the depth of [Mendelsohn's] knowledge and his intellectual integrity cannot be questioned."--Martin Gottlieb "The Dayton Jewish Observer"