Review of Broomall, James J., Private Confederacies: The Emotional Worlds of Southern Men as Citizens and Soldiers
James J. Broomall’s Private Confederacies: The Emotional Worlds of Southern Men as Citizens and Soldiers joins a growing wave of new scholarship investigating the Civil War experiences of common soldiers. Like Peter Carmichael’s The War for the Common Soldier (2018) and Lorien Foote’s The Gentlemen and the Roughs (2010), Broomall considers the thoughts, feelings, and cultures of Civil War soldiers. And just as Stephen Berry did in All That Makes a Man (2004), Broomall elects to consider largely the perspective of Southern men, assessing the war’s impact on their conceptualizations of masculinity and self-reliance. Though Broomall’s book deals with questions Civil War historians have been asking for as long as there has been a history of the conflict, his astute analysis and engaging source material make Private Confederacies a worthwhile addition to the literature on the soldiers of the Civil War.