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While Father is Away

The Civil War Letters of
William H. Bradbury

A more modern type of husband-wife relationship reflects the partnership forged because of war. Mary Brown Bradbury's rise to the occasion of her husband's expectations as executor of dreams and plans, the Bradburys also provide a richly complex view of both intimacy and egalitarianism - novel in itself for 19th century marriages.

The letters also provide an in-depth look at this driven land speculator and future manager for the Atchison Topeka Santa Fe Railway. During the Civil War, as a reporter for both the Chicago Tribune and the Manchester Guardian, Bradbury was both eyewitness to and participant in the shaping of events in a world that was moving West.

[photo: Mary Bradbury with
Jane at 4 years, ca. 1858]



While Father Is Away encompasses topics in addition to U.S. Civil War including, immigrant history; cotton's role in world commercial history during the war; railroad history, the Atchison Topeka Santa Fe Railway; land speculation and the building of the Western states; the rise of journalism and phonography; women's history; African American studies; history of education; poetry; and England's role in the history of U.S. during the 19th century.

REVIEW: "A fascinating and informative set of letters that provide first person insight into the Civil War 'behind the lines.' Well-written by Bradbury and nicely edited by Jennifer Cain Bohrnstedt, While Father Is Away is a first-rate contribution to the literature of the Civil War and our understanding of that great conflict." - Bill Mulligan, Director; Forrest C. Pogue Public History Institute, Murray State University

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