Andrew Ward’s The Slaves’ War: The Civil War in the Words of Former Slaves turned out to be a good overview of the slave experience before, during and following the American Civil War, as told by the former slaves themselves. Ward deftly threads together the disparate voices, letting them reflect on life on the plantations, their conflicted relationships with their owners, the harrowing ordeals of the war, meeting and mourning Lincoln, and adjusting to a new life in freedom.
The bulk of the accounts are gleaned from interviews conducted by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) during the late 1920s and early 1930s. Since the book is only an overview, it left this reader with wanting to know more about the lives of the former slaves and more detail of their recollections. To that end, a quick search turned up the WPA on the Project Gutenberg website.
Have you read The Slaves’ War? Did anything surprise you in reading it?
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