In the Presence of Mine Enemies by Edward L. Ayers
War in the Heart of America, 1859-1863

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Many histories of the American Civil War tell of the triumph of the dynamic, free-labour North over the traditional, slave-based South, vindicating the freedom principles built on the nation's foundations. Edward L. Ayers tells a different story of the war on an intimate scale. He charts the descent into war in the Great Valleyt spanning Pennsylvania and Virginia. Connected by strong ties of every kind, the people of this borderland sought alternatives to secession and war. It came to their doorsteps in hunger, disease and death. It ends with the valley ravaged, Lincoln's support fragmenting and Confederate forces massing at Gettysburg.

About Edward L. Ayers

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Edward L. Ayers is the President of the University of Richmond. He was educated at the University of Tennessee and Yale University, where he received his Ph.D. in American Studies. Previously Dean of Arts and Sciences at the University of Virginia, where he began teaching in 1980, Ayers was named National Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation and the Council for the Support of Education in 2003. His book, IN THE PRESENCE OF MINE ENEMIES: WAR IN THE HEART OF AMERICA, 1859-1863 (2003), won the Bancroft Prize for distinguished work on the history of the United States. THE PROMISE OF THE NEW SOUTH: LIFE AFTER RECONSTRUCTION (1992) won prizes for the best book on the history of American race relations and on the history of the American South. It was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. He is the co-editor of THE OXFORD BOOK OF THE AMERICAN SOUTH (1997) and ALL OVER THE MAP: RETHINKING AMERICAN REGIONS (1996). The World Wide Web version of "The Valley of the Shadow: Two Communities in the American Civil War" was recognized by the American Historical Association as the best aid to the teaching of history. His latest book is WHAT CAUSED THE CIVIL WAR? REFLECTIONS ON THE SOUTH AND SOUTHERN HISTORY (2005).
Published September 1, 2003 by W. W. Norton & Company. 480 pages
Genres: History, War. Non-fiction

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the complicated politics of abolition in the north and the widespread dislike of Lincoln on free soil, with many northerners fearing that Lincoln’s policies would only “unite and exasperate the whites of the South in their resistance to the National Government, and to make the war still more prol...

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Two counties, one in Virginia and one in Pennsylvania, are united by the vast Shenandoah Valley, but divided by the Mason-Dixon line. As late as 1859, these border counties, and by extension their

May 26 2003 | Read Full Review of In the Presence of Mine Enemi...

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Ayers tells his complex story with a master's touch, shifting smoothly between North and South, and between the lesser worlds of his two counties and the wider events of the war that changed them both utterly.

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