A Soldier's Story of the Civil War

New York Times Notable Book

Benson Bobrick, recipient of the 2002 American Academy of Arts and Letters Literature Award, tells the story of Benjamin “Webb” Baker, his great-grandfather. Webb enlisted in the Union Army in 1861 and thereafter suffered through horrid conditions in camp and absolute hell in combat. Benson’s fascinating look at the Civil War also contains a heretofore unreleased collection of Webb’s letters.

Editorial Reviews

“Civil War buffs will relish this extraordinary new history from Bobrick based on a collection of letters written by his great-grandfather, Benjamin ‘Webb’ Baker…This is a compelling story, rendered in vivid, graceful prose that should find an enthusiastic audience.” 

Publishers Weekly

“A well-structured, well-told and—much of the time—well-read production.” 


“A thoroughly absorbing survey of the Civil War in the west and an intimate, firsthand account of a soldier’s travels and hardships…Together, the beautifully interwoven narrative and letters form a seamless, compelling account of a soldier’s and nation’s experiences…Baker’s longings for home, tempered by a resolute sense of duty and his tales of the unremitting drudgery of camp life are in many respects timeless.” 

Library Journal

“The Civil War as seen by the author’s great-grandfather, an Illinois infantryman on the Union side…A fitting memorial to the farmboy turned soldier and intellectual: a must for Civil War enthusiasts.” 

Kirkus Reviews

Author Biography

Benson Bobrick earned his doctorate from Colombia University and is the author of several critically acclaimed works, including Wide as the Waters: The Story of the English Bible and the Revolution It Inspired; Angel in the Whirlwind: The Triumph of the American Revolution; and Testament: A Soldier’s Story of the Civil War. In 2002 he received the Literature Award of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. He and his wife, Hilary, divide their time between New York and Vermont.

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