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Sons of the White Eagle in the American Civil War: Divided Poles in a Divided Nation

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Sons of the White Eagle in the American Civil War: Divided Poles in a Divided Nation

by Mark F. Bielski

whiteeagle

A historian who lives in New Orleans, Mark is a director at Stephen Ambrose Historical Tours and the Ambrose Institute, where he is involved
in business and educational development, historical guiding, lecturing and itinerary design for tours that primarily involve World War II and the
American Civil War. Being of Polish descent, he knows the language and has traveled extensively in Poland and throughout Europe. He has a Ph.D.
in History from the University of Birmingham (England), and an M.A. and B.A. in English from Georgetown and Tulane Universities, respectively. His
career has involved academics, history and journalism, and he is a member of the American Historical Association and the Society for Military History.

Sons of the White Eagle in the American Civil War describes the fascinating story of nine transplanted Poles who participated in the Civil War. They span three generations and are connected by culture, nationality and adherence to their principles and ideals. The common thread that runs through their lives—the Polish White Eagle—is that they came from a country that had basically disintegrated at the end of the previous century, yet they carried the concepts of freedom they inherited from their forefathers to the New World to which they immigrated.
Once in America the pre-war political feuds, ferocious ensuing battles, captures, prison camp escapes and privations of war—often in the words of the soldiers themselves—are fully described. More highly trained in warfare than their American brethren—and certainly more inured to struggles for nationhood—the Poles made a more significant contribution to Civil war combat than is usually described.
The first group had fought in the 1830 war for freedom from the Russian Empire. The European revolutionary struggles of the 1840’s molded the next generation. The two of the youngest generation came of age just as the Civil War began, entered military service as enlisted men and finished as officers. Of the group, four sided with the North and four with the South, and the other began in the Confederate cavalry and finished fighting for the Union side. All but one came from aristocratic backgrounds.
In a war commonly categorized as a “brother against brother” struggle between two American regions, history has not devoted a great deal of attention to the participation of Poles, and foreigners in general. These men fought with a belief in European democratic liberalism. Whether for the North to keep a Union together or to form a new nation from the Southern states, they held to their ideals, and in America’s own greatest conflict continued to fight for their beliefs.
Reviews
“The historiography of this unfortunate period of American history has certainly been enhanced by Mark Bielski. The research is impressive...”
—Stuart McClung, New York Journal of Books
“In recent decades, immigrant studies have assumed a much more prominent place in the Civil War literature. However, even after taking into account the comparatively minute scale of their contributions to both armies, the Polish experience has been unduly buried beneath the weight exerted by the far more numerous European ethnic groups. Sons of the White Eagle in the American Civil War not only brings into sharp focus the actions and significance of a number of prominent military figures (and one civilian), it also usefully examines the cultural and political connections between Poland and the United States throughout the turbulent first half of the nineteenth century.”
—Civil War Books and Authors

In a war commonly categorized as a "brother against brother," a struggle between two American regions, history has not devoted a great deal of attention to the participation of Poles, and foreigners in general. These men fought with a belief in European democratic liberalism. Whether for the North to keep a Union together or to form a new nation from the Southern states, they held to their ideals, and in America's own greatest conflict continued to fight for
their beliefs.

Sons of the White Eagle in the American Civil War: Divided Poles in a Divided Nation
Author Mark Bielski June 2016 Casemate Publishers Illustration 16 pp photos 9781612003580 312pp $32.95
610/853-9131 www.casematepublishers.com
Available everywhere fine books are sold
For more information contact Carrie Williamson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
504-258-1662
For a signed personalized copy: www.markbielski.com

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