Shortly after the third edition of Leaves of Grass was published in 1860, Walt Whitman seemed to drop off the literary map, not to emerge again until his brother George was wounded at Fredericksburg two and a half years later. Past critics have tended to read this silence as evidence of Whitman's indifference to the Civil War during its critical early months. In this penetrating and beautifully written book, Ted Genoways reconstructs those forgotten years, filling a major gap in Whitman's biography and revealing the poet's active participation in the early Civil War period.
"[The book] strikes an admirable balance between scholarly research and narrative drama. Genoways has delivered an exciting literary history of America at war with herself and has positioned at the nation's very center the century's greatest poet."—Billy Collins