Book Review: Battlefields of Honor

Taking place some one hundred fifty years ago, America’s Civil War continues to fascinate not only Americans but also reenactors worldwide. These dedicated men and women carefully research the costumes, customs, mannerisms and food of the time period. They then work hard to accurately portray not only the great battles but also the smaller skirmishes and scenes of daily life behind the front lines. From famous generals and President Lincoln to grieving widows and slaves, each reenactor vividly brings the past to life as demonstrated in this splendid collection of photographs. Several pictures were made using nineteenth century wet plate photography techniques which yield a hauntingly authentic feel to the images. Whether showing specially built trenches or unscripted reenactments held on grand English estates, the settings are no less impressive then the costumes and all are captured by Elson’s expertise behind the lens.  

One need not be a historian or Civil War buff to appreciate these fine photos, each with an informative caption about the reenactor and their persona. A helpful timeline of events starting with Abraham Lincoln becoming president in 1860 and ending with the June 30, 1865 sentencing of his assassination suspects puts the battle reenactments into context. For those who wish to pursue more information about becoming a reenactor, a list of organizations and their emails is included. From start to finish, this is a great way to experience the Civil War up close and personal.

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