Sutherland’s account of the war is unlike any other. Both a military and a social history, it details the life of a single Confederate community without losing sight of the titanic struggle of a nation divided. It allows readers to join the councils of Lee and Grant while sharing the letters of young couples separated by war. We frolic with the fun-loving Jeb Stuart, experience the confused terror of men in battle, feel the anguish of civilians surrounded by contending armies, observe the tensions between neighbors with different loyalties, and sense the joy of liberated slaves.
Written in a daring style that thrusts readers into the vortex of war, Seasons of War tells the story of a place and a nation. It is a tale by turns heroic and mean, hopeful and bleak, humorous and grave. It is a story of the American people—Northern and Southern, white and black, free and unfree—at the defining hour of their history.
Exposing an aspect of the War Between the States many readers will find unfamiliar, this book demonstrates how the unbridled and unexpectedly brutal nature of guerrilla fighting profoundly affected the tactics and strategies of the larger, conventional war. The reasons for the rise and popularity of guerrilla warfare, particularly in the South and lower Midwest, are examined, as is the way each side dealt with its consequences. Guerrilla warfare's impact on the outcome of the conflict is analyzed as well. Finally, the role of memory in shaping history is touched on in an epilogue that explores how veteran Civil War guerrillas recalled their role in the war.