A People at War refutes the popular belief that during the American Civil War the citizenry bent to the will of the nation's great military and political leaders. Capturing how the war rocked the lives of all segments of society, it argues that conflicts off the battlefield splintered societyin the North and South, creating widespread chaos, guerrilla warfare, urban riots, and unprecedented public outcry which drove the actions of the leaders who now define the era: Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, Ulysses S. Grant, and Robert E. Lee. The book also brings to life the full humanity of the war's participants--from women behind their plows to their husbands in army camps; from refugees from slavery to their former masters; from Mayflower descendants to freshly recruited Irish sailors. It describes how people confronted their ownfeelings about the war itself, and how they coped with emotional challenges (uncertainty, exhaustion, fear, guilt, betrayal, grief) as well as physical ones (displacement, poverty, illness, disfigurement). In addition, the authors examine how the West--and the dreams the Easterners attached toit--played a crucial role in a supposedly North-South conflict. A People at War stresses the war years, but also casts an eye at the tumultuous decades that preceded and followed. It is an ideal resource for American History courses focusing on the Civil War and Reconstruction.