Last updated: April 24, 2015
Portraits of Conflict: A Photographic History of Missouri in the Civil War, by William Garrett Piston and Thomas P. Sweeney. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 2009.
Portraits of Conflict, by William Piston and Thomas Sweeney, is a fascinating book that offers informative essays and hundreds of images of individuals associated with the Civil War and Missouri. The authors explain that Missouri was a deeply divided border state and politically important to both the Union and Confederacy.
The book further explains that Missouri was the site of many battles, river warfare and cavalry raids. The authors provide text and commentary, organizing the photos into chapters covering the origins of the war, its conventional and guerilla phases, the war on the rivers, medicine, the experiences of Missourians who served out of state, and postwar years.
The book is an amazing achievement and offers many intimate views into the lives of people directly involved in the war. Many of the comments about the soldiers include personal details that help put a human face on the conflict. This book will be of interest to anyone studying the Civil War and to those interested in mid-nineteenth century Missouri history.