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The War Outside My Window: The Civil War Diary of LeRoy Wiley Gresham, 1860-1865

Janet E. Croon

LeRoy Wiley Gresham was born in 1847 to an affluent slaveholding family in Macon, Georgia. As a young child he suffered a horrific leg injury that left him an invalid. Educated, inquisitive, perceptive, and exceptionally witty, the 12- year-old began keeping a diary in 1860 just as secession and Civil War began tearing the country and his world apart. He wrote daily for five years, putting pen to paper with a vim and tongue-in-cheek vigor that continues to impress more than 150 years later. His practical, philosophical, and occasionally Twain-like observations, cover politics, the secession movement, the destructive Civil War, family pets, and a wide variety of hobbies. His writing sheds light on life for a member of a socially prominent and wealthy family in Macon, an important manufacturing center for the Confederacy. Gresham’s own slow and painful death mirrored that of the demise of the Confederacy. Edited and annotated by Janet Croon, The War Outside My Window captures the spirit and the character of a young privileged, white teenager who witnessed the dissolution of slavery in America and the end of the reign of white slaveholders.

Janet E. Croon recently retired from teaching advanced high school history in Fairfax County, Virginia. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, Modern European History, and Russian Language and Area Studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Master’s Degree in International Studies from the University of Dayton. She taught International Baccalaureate History for nearly two decades and developed a deep interest in the Civil War by living in northern Virginia. This is her first book.

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