Both prayed to the same God
Religion and Faith in the American Civil War
Both Prayed to the Same God is the first book-length, comprehensive study of religion in the Civil War. While much research has focused on religion in more specific contexts of the Civil War, this book provides a much-needed overview of this vital yet largely forgotten subject of American history. Writing passionately about this subject, Robert Miller presents this history in a very accessible but scholarly fashion. Beginning with the religious overtones in the lead up to the war, and concluding with consequences on religion in the aftermath, Miller shows us not only a forgotten aspect of history, but also how our current historical situation is not unprecedented.
What people have said about this book:
"Of the thousands of books written about the American Civil War, few have focused on its crucial religious dimensions. Robert Miller has done much to remedy that deficiency in this important volume. Readers will find here the stories of believers - and even skeptics - in North and South, of Protestants and Catholics and Jews, of clergy and laypersons, of soldiers and civilians, chaplains and generals, men and women, slaves and free people, woven together in a tapestry that offers a vivid picture of the importance of religion in the Civil War." - James M. McPherson, from the Preface
"Robert J. Miller has performed a miracle of sorts in bringing together a large but disparate literature on American religion and the Civil War to give us the first synthesis of this vital subject. He does so with conviction, conscience, and considerable insight into the many ways matters of faith and religion informed, and even drove, ideas and interests in politics before the war and shaped soldiers', civilians', slaves', and others' understandings of the war. The result is a book of remarkable reach into the very soul of America during its ordeal by fire. " - Randall M. Miller, Professor of History at Saint Joseph's University and co-editor of Religion and the American Civil War
"Both Prayed to the Same God is a comprehensive overview of religion during the Civil War that ably synthesizes a large amount of material on the subject. Miller offers a range of voices speaking on the vitally important relationship of religious faith and war. Students of the Civil War will find much fascinating information here on one of the most neglected aspects of the entire conflict." - George C. Rable, Charles Summersell Chair in Southern History, University of Alabama and author of Fredericksburg! Fredericksburg!, awarded the Lincoln Prize
"The centrality of faith and religion in every aspect of life in early nineteenth century America is often ignored or marginalized by the modern generation, the religious fervor of which pales in comparison. The lack of a shared experience restricts our understanding of the powerful manner in which religion has helped shape our national identity. Yet, in that period of our nation's history, religion was regarded as the "foremost of the political institutions" and was profoundly intertwined in the sectional controversy over slavery that resulted in bloody civil war. The author is uniquely qualified to address the religious influence that directed Americans on the course to civil war and provides a clear and crisp, yet powerful and compelling evaluation of role of faith in the causes, conduct, and consequences of America's bloodiest conflict." - Terrence J. Winschel, author of Triumph & Defeat and Vicksburg
"The role of religion has been a strangely neglected subject in Civil War studies. Robert Miller's well researched and carefully argued book does a great deal to remedy that deficet. It is both a reliable synthesis of existing scholarship and a thoughtful contribution because of Miller's own insights. Students of the Civil War and of religion in American history should welcome this fine book." - Mark Noll, University of Notre Dame
See review by Richard J. Blumberg at http://www.civilwarnews.com/reviews/2008br/Feb/miller_prayed.htm
“This is the study of the perception of religion and faith during the American Civil War. It has been a long overlooked subject concerning the War. The author deals with the use of Scripture to form political opinions during the nineteenth century. This is a serious book. It may not appeal to all students of the Civil War. Some of the information and opinions mentioned here will cause serious controversy and discussion. That in itself is good for students of the War. Discussion helps to foster understanding of the why’s and how’s of the most defining event in American History.
This is a painstakingly concise effort. It is well written. The author has provided footnotes at the end of each chapter which makes it easier to refer back while reading. Also included is a suggested reading list at the end of each chapter. I found this innovative and very helpful in understanding where to research the opinions expressed. One is given the source ‘on the spot’, so to speak, to further his conclusions. These references are in addition to a complete bibliography at book’s end.
If you are interested in the nuts and bolts of the spiritual climate of America during this time and the inner thoughts of the common soldier, this is for you. There are not many books about that broach this subject and we should be supportive of those that are. It is not that we agree with opinions, but rather that we understand how and why they are formed. This book takes a long stride in accomplishing that fact. So, add this one to your reading list. Go out and get a copy and begin a journey to understanding the motives of faith and religion in this era of the American Civil War. You will be well served by this book.”
- Joe Truglio, Phil Kearny CWRT, Fall 2007