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God Rest Ye Merry, Soldiers: A True Civil War Christmas Story [Hardcover]

By James McIvor (Author)
Our Price $ 16.96  
Retail Value $ 19.95  
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Item Number 153635  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   176
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.1" Width: 5.2" Height: 1"
Weight:   0.5 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Nov 30, 2005
Publisher   Viking Adult
ISBN  0670034517  
EAN  9780670034512  
UPC  051488019954  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
A heartwarming Civil War tale bound to become an American holiday classic In the winter of 1862, during the seemingly endless nightmare of the Civil War, a small miracle occurred. Just after Christmas, on the eve of the bloody battle of Stones River in Tennessee, the Union and Confederate armies set up camp within shouting distance of one another. To raise their spirits, they began a battle of patriotic tunes-"Yankee Doodle" drowned out by "Dixie." Then, during a pause, a Union band struck up the wistful strains of "Home Sweet Home." A Confederate band chimed in, and soon every regimental band and every soldier, Rebel and Yankee alike, had swelled the chorus. This bittersweet moment is the centerpiece of James McIvor's portrait in miniature of a country weary of war. Filled with soldiers' letters-marked by humor, yearning, and courage-as well as Christmas poems and songs from theperiod, this is a tale of unabashed holiday spirit for our own divided nation.

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > History > Americas > United States > Civil War > Confederacy   [229  similar products]
2Books > Subjects > History > Americas > United States > Civil War > General   [2459  similar products]
3Books > Subjects > History > Americas > United States > General   [16214  similar products]
4Books > Subjects > History > Military > United States > General   [2116  similar products]
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Holidays > Christmas > General   [1208  similar products]

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
A must read for the Civil War enthusiast  Jun 15, 2008
Ok, I admit it. I very nearly didn't add this treasure to my personal Civil War library. I was looking for a copy of Kevin Rawling's "We were Marching on Christmas Day," hoping beyond hope of finding it in stores after having read an article in my local paper about him being the Civil War Santa. An article which, I might add, mentioned his book and had me turning my attention to the Christmas season during the war for the first time. When I saw this book in stores for the first time I was at first intrested and then quickly turned off by it. It just seemed like it was a novel to me. I was looking for non-fiction, not a fictional story set at Christmastime during the war. But for whatever reason I decided to pick it up even though I really didn't want a novel on Christmas during the war.

Well let's just say I was far from disappointed about being wrong about the book. It is a fascinating look into Christmas and how the war affected it for soldier and civilian alike. Even more fascinating, for me, was to learn that one of the sources McIvor used was the very book I'd been looking for in the first place.

James McIvor brings together both research and individuals' letters to paint a picture of what life was like for soldier and civilian, North and South, alike. One can learn much about life at this time and how the war affected it. But even more than that, McIvor brings out how the feelings towards the war had changed from the early days when people on both sides expected all it would take was one big battle to get the other side to capitualate to the growing realization that the war was going to be a long one. And this was even more noticeable at Christmas, a time when most of the soldiers were so used to being at home with friends and loved ones. And at home the holiday season just reminded those who the soldiers left behind that their sons, grandsons, fathers, husbands, brothers, etc. were away fighting the war. Or worse, they were never coming home again.

"God Rest Ye Merry, Soldiers," along with "We were Marching on Christmas Day," is an absolute must for any Civil War enthusiasts library as it gives us a look into a too often overlooked element of the war. Holidays. We spend too much time paying attention only to the generals, politicians, dates and the events that occured on those dates that we overlook the the fact that the war was fought by living, breathing individuals. But when a book takes the time to remind us of those individuals and the lives they led during the war, then that book is absolutely worth reading. That is exactly what this book does. It reminds us of those individuals and also gives us an understanding of how they must have felt during the holiday season.

Now if only someone would provide a book that looks at some of the other holidays of the year and how they were affected by the war.
Quick and entertaining take on Christmas in the Civil War  Mar 8, 2007
This book revolves around the people who participated in the 1862 Civil War battle "The Battle of Stones River", fought near Murfreeboro, Tennessee just after Christmas. It is not at all an account of the battle itself.

The author uses mostly excerpts from letters and autobiographies from participants to illustrate how Christmas 1862 felt to the people involved in this particular battle. There are Christmas poems from papers of the day, popular song lyrics, letters to and from home, and biographical information about various people involved.

There are no complete accounts of the battle but only descriptions of part of the battle that allow the reader to develop a context in which to place these events; so if you are looking for a military account on the Battle of Stones River, this is not the book to read.

The story of the Generals and Privates that are covered here are poignant. There are several accounts of participants who foresaw their death. There are a number of accounts of merciful treatment from enemy combatants. I found these accounts the most intriguing. The story of the 2 opposing armies singing together "Home, Sweet Home" on the eve of battle is probably the climax of the book.

The author also includes material on the nature of Christmas in 1862 and gives an excellent history of the evolution of this holiday and explanations of why it is the way it is. This was excellent material and fascinating.

Overall, a very enjoyable account of the juxtaposition of religious observances and the horror of war. Definitely worth a read.
Short, but fantastic!  Nov 5, 2006
***** This is a small book that was actually released in 2005. Now, in 2006, it is being reprinted in a small paperback for more people to discover and enjoy. The story takes readers back in history, to the Civil War. Through the eyes of soldiers' letters (Union and Confederate) comes a true tale of a Christmas miracle. It will not take you long to read the story since it is less than two hundred pages, but it is a book that you will find yourself reading more than once. Full of joy, sorrow, compassion, and courage, this is a story you will never forget. *****

Reviewed by Detra Fitch of Huntress Reviews.
A poignant story of the Christmas of 1862.  Jun 23, 2006
An interesting little book about the Christmas of 1862 and the Battle of Stones River fought near Murfreeboro, Tennessee a few days later. The book traces the recent increase in popularity of Christmas in America, the steady decline in morale among soldiers on both sides during 1862, and how this led to a particularly poignant moment of comraderie on the eve of the battle. Very much enjoyed reading this book. A great stocking stuffer for the Civil War buff.
In Heavenly Peace  Feb 20, 2006
I read this on Christmas Eve with tears in my eyes. Even if you aren't interested in Civil War history, you might like this book just for what it tells us about Christmas customs in an age way before Santa Claus became a Christmas staple. (For a Canadian version of these matters, check out Derek McCormack's magnificent CHRISTMAS DAYS for a refresher course.)

From the buoyant spirits of the North and South during Christmas 1861, to the privations and agonies of Christmas 1862, is a dramatic reflection of the larger picture of the war. Soldiers in the previous Christmas still had gift packages from home, but by the very next year mail service had become erratic where it existed at all, and nothing was safe in the mail. A single turkey cost nearly 30 dollars, enough to rent an entire home for six months! There was inflation like that found in Berlin after World War I. And the suffering of the soldiers is unbelievable. Having to eat hard tack laced with worms is ghastly.

McIvor's research is terrific, and he seems to have been everywhere at once, in the research libraries of dozens of universities and private collections, gathering and sifting a mass of undifferentiated and miscellaneous dross and sifting out all but the most telling anecdotes. The only thing I didn't really like was the title, which just seems forced. I remember the old carol, "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," but to switch it to "Soldiers," I shake my head with distaste, murmuring, nix on that.

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