We owe it to each other to tell stories - Neil Gaiman

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Hoopskirts, Union Blues, and Confederate Grays - Kate Havelin

Book Stats:

Title: Hoopskirts, Union Blues, and Confederate Grays

Subtitle: Civil War Fashions from 1861 t0 1865

Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group

Imprint: Twenty-First Century Books

Publication date: 10/01/2011

Source: Net Galley

What would you have worn if you lived during the Civil War era? It depends on who you were:

  • Upper-class women wore tight corsets, bustles, and wide hoop skirts to fancy balls. The layers weighed almost 30 pounds (14 kilograms)!
  • For everyday, whether at home or nursing soldiers, women put on multiple layers of simple fabrics. Some daredevils sported women's trousers—called Bloomers—to make a statement on women's rights.
  • Civil War soldiers wore flannel and wool uniforms—blue in the North and gray in the South.
  • Men of fashion donned suits with velvet collars and silk lapels during the day and coats with fancy tails for parties.
  • Underneath their everyday clothing—a shirt, tie, vest, coat, and trousers—men wore "drawers," baggy long undergarments that buttoned in front and tied in back.
  • Slaves wore whatever their owners gave them—usually only two sets of rough linen clothing, one for winter and one for summer.
  • Girls had loose garments called pantalets and pinafores, while sailor suits were popular for boys.
Read more about wartime fashions of the 1860s—from ankle boots to parasols and tiaras—in this fascinating book!

The Review:

If you are reading anything about or based on the American Civil War Era, then this is a book that you have to include in your study of the milieu. When I saw this on Net Galley, I just had to be able to read it, as you all know I am reading Gone with the Wind – which is the ultimate Civil War Era novel. Whilst Margaret Mitchell is very descriptive, it was just hard for me to fully imagine the clothes of the time, and this wonderful book has filled in the gaps for me.

Though this book’s target audience is school children who are in school, it is mature enough for both children and adults to be able to enjoy it. The photos used in this book are superb – black and white from the Civil War Era, but with the black and white background changed into one of the vivid colours that we have available to us today. This book sheds light on the attire of ladies, gentlemen, soldiers and slaves of the time. It is in incredibly interesting book, and I really would advise you to read it before reading anything on the civil war era- as it just gives you that little bit extra to make history come alive. This is definitely a book that I would like to acquire once it is available in South Africa.

I would like to thank the kind publishers at the Lerner Publishing Group for allowing me to view this galley.

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