Review of Stanley, Matthew E., The Loyal West: Civil War and Reunion in Middle America
During the Grand Review of Union Armies at the close of the American Civil War, newspaper reports celebrated the achievements of the returning veterans. The Boys in Blue were lauded for their efforts in preserving the Union, but as Eastern and Western soldiers met for the first time in the nation’s capital, it became clear that little more than uniforms united the men. Soldiers of the Western armies often observed—after being in close proximity with their Eastern counterparts—that Western men held fundamentally different beliefs about the war and its meaning than their Eastern compatriots. Sectional division not only separated North and South, but they also marked the difference between East and West. It is this internal division that Matthew E. Stanley deftly examines in The Loyal West: Civil War and Reunion in Middle America.