Yesterday I picked up a second hand copy of David Williams’ A People’s History of the Civil War. (I buy most of my books second hand or otherwise deeply discounted. Given the price of books these days, I don’t see any other way to build or maintain a decently sized personal library.) For some reason Amazon lists this book as co-authored by Howard Zinn, vocal contemporary critic of the civil rights policies of the Kennedy Administration and author of A People’s History of the United States, a book mentioned in passing by Matt Damon’s title character in the film Good Will Hunting. Zinn does provide a cover blurb for the book – “Williams perfectly captures what we mean by ‘peoples history.’ His book is a startling contrast to the other literature of the Civil War.” Whatever any of that means. Also, Zinn is listed first and foremost by Williams as the inspiration and encouragement for this book.
The chapter titles in this book read like a set list from a Pete Seeger concert:
Introduction: “The People at War”
1 “All for the Benefit of the Wealthy”
2 “The Brunt is Thrown upon the Working Class”
3 “The Women Rising”
4 “We Poor Soldiers”
5 “Come In Out of the Draft”
6 “My God! Are We Free?”
7 “Indians Here Have No Fight with the Whites”
8 “Was the War in Vain?”
I welcome any comments or reviews from you readers. I have no idea when I’ll get around to reading this one.