The United Daughters of the Confederacy asked Jeff if he would like to research the diaries, letters and journals held in their private archive. Ladies of the UDC had been sending these documents to the library since 1958. You know the answer and two years later, after finding more than 100 unpublished ‘voices’ from privates, sergeants, farm girls, nurses, clerks, wives and chaplains, this companion volume to No Soap, No Pay, Diarrhea, Dysentery & Desertion was published.
You will read almost a thousand of their stories, from all over the Confederacy, as they take you through 1863. These are not the ‘voices’ of generals and politicians. This is the normal person relating their daily challenges and hardships to their loved ones. It is very personal, intimate, stark, compelling, and quite often even humorous. To gain a true understanding of the worst war in the history of our nation you must feel the experiences of ordinary people.
Three women and twelve men become your tour guides. They ‘speak’ to you at least once each month and take you through 1863. These are the same tour guides that took you through 1864-65 in No Soap, No Pay, Diarrhea, Dysentery & Desertion. The 255 other men and women who join them mostly ‘speak’ to you less than four times each, but will leave you stunned by the power and the magic of their words.
Mama and Diarrhea will become two of your favorite books in your library. Michael Aubrecht, in a book review, noted that “the concept is so simple, yet brilliant . . . the greatest contribution is found in the ‘voices.’ ” You will keep this book close at hand and will find yourself opening it at random and reading the excerpts. Somehow these ‘voices’ draw you in and you are unable to resist.
- UDC Magazine, October 2012, Review by Mary Grundman Vial
- The Virginia Gazette, July 2012, Review by Rusty Carter