The Better Angel: Walt Whitman in the Civil War

Paperback | October 15, 2001

byRoy Morris

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For nearly three years, Walt Whitman immersed himself in the devastation of the Civil War, tending to thousands of wounded soldiers and recording his experiences with an immediacy and compassion unequaled in wartime literature anywhere in the world. In The Better Angel, acclaimed biographer Roy Morris, Jr. gives us the fullest account of Whitman's profoundly transformative Civil War years and an historically invaluable examination of the Union's treatment of its sick and wounded. Whitman was mired in depression as the war began, subsistingon journalistic hackwork, his "great career" as a poet apparently stalled. But when news came that his brother George had been wounded at Fredericksburg, Whitman rushed south to find him. Deeply affected by his first view of the war's casualties, he began visiting the camp's wounded and found hiscalling for the duration of the war. Three years later, he emerged as the war's "most unlikely hero," a living symbol of American democratic ideals of sharing and brotherhood. Brilliantly researched and beautifully written, The Better Angel explores a side of Whitman not fully examined before, one that greatly enriches our understanding of his later poetry. Moreover, it gives us a vivid and unforgettable portrait of the "other army"--the legions of sick and woundedsoldiers who are usually left in the shadowy background of Civil War history--seen here through the unflinching eyes of America's greatest poet.

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For nearly three years, Walt Whitman immersed himself in the devastation of the Civil War, tending to thousands of wounded soldiers and recording his experiences with an immediacy and compassion unequaled in wartime literature anywhere in the world. In The Better Angel, acclaimed biographer Roy Morris, Jr. gives us the fullest accou...

Roy Morris, Jr. is a native of Chattanooga, Tennessee. He is the author of Sheridan: The Life and Wars of General Phil Sheridan and Ambrose Bierce: Alone in Bad Company.

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Format:PaperbackPublished:October 15, 2001Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019514709X

ISBN - 13:9780195147094

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"The Better Angel illuminates Walt Whitman's Civil War years with frankness and compassion. Its insights and compelling narrative afford us new and humanly rich understandings of the poet and his vision of America."-- Robert H. Abzug, author of Cosmos Crumbling: American Reform and theReligious Imagination and Inside the Vicious Heart: Americans and the Liberation of Nazi Concentration Camps