Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Wonder of Diaries

I am reading an excellent Civil War journal as part of the research for my third novel. The title is A Yankee Spy in Richmond: The Civil War Diary of "Crazy Bet" Van Lew.

I've expounded before on the joy of primary sources and this book proves my theory. As you may know, Elizabeth Van Lew was a native-born Richmonder who was a very effective spy for the Union. Her diary does a great job of describing the state of mind and conditions in wartime Richmond. The descriptions of the mood of Richmonders, especially the women, at the time of secession, are excellent. She also recounts the starvation and shortages that grip the city as the war progresses.

For those who want to understand the thoughts and emotions of the people in wartime Richmond, this book is an excellent place to start.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

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