"Alice Fahs explores a little-known and fascinating side of the Civil War - the outpouring of popular literature inspired by the conflict. From 1861 to 1865, authors and publishers in both the North and the South produced a remarkable variety of war-related compositions, including poems, songs, children's stories, romances, novels, histories, and even humorous pieces. Fahs mines these rich but long-neglected resources to recover the diversity of the war's political and social meanings." "Instead of narrowly portraying the Civil War as a clash between two great, white armies, popular literature offered a wide range of representations through which to consider the conflict, as Fahs demonstrates. Works that explored the war's devastating impact on white women's lives, for example, proclaimed the importance of their experiences on the home front, while popular writings that celebrated black manhood and heroism in the wake of emancipation helped readers begin to imagine new roles for blacks in American life. By providing subjects and characters with which a broad spectrum of people could identify, popular literature invited ordinary Americans to envision themselves as active participants in the war and helped shape new modes of imagining the relationships of diverse individuals to the nation."--Jacket.