This is the apt title of Rick Liblong's excellent new book published by Arbutus Press, a fascinating collection of stories about the Civil War service of small town soldiers from Michigan. The village of Almont in Lapeer County serves as the book's centerpiece and representative of rural Michigan -- as the State largely was in 1861. Alongside more well-known vignettes, like Norvel Churchill's brave rescue of Custer at Hunterstown, are unfamiliar and amazing stories like attorney Melvin Brewer who within two weeks of Fort Sumter offered to raise a regiment, rose to lieutenant colonel of the 7th Michigan Cavalry, and paid the ultimate price at Winchester in Sept. 1864. Teacher William Hamilton's 17 months as a prisoner has similar poignancy. Liblong begins and ends the book by contrasting the freedom to hold slaves sought by insurrectionists with that embodied in a valedictory white pine monument on Almont's main street dedicated to a nation recreated with liberty and justice for all.
I learned a lot, enjoyed the many illustrations, and heartily recommend this fine book.
(Other books published by Arbutus include Vintage Views of the Mackinac Straits Region, a personal favorite that enables the armchair traveler to enjoy a trip through time and space without leaving his den.)