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University of Kansas Press


In his book In God’s Presence, Benjamin Miller uses the philosophy of spatial theory as a prism to analyze how chaplains and missionaries in the Civil War attempted to preserve antebellum religious foundations and beliefs (“sacred space”) amidst the foreign chaos of battles, death, wounds, camp life, etc. (“profane space”). In doing so, he presents what is perhaps the most thorough and detailed analysis yet written of the religious life of Civil War chaplains and soldiers. Though thankfully more books are emerging of late which deal seriously with religion and the War, few have dealt as specifically as this book does with the actual religious practices of this long-ignored subject area. Benjamin Miller (no relation to this reviewer) devotes chapters to such areas as men of the cloth, Christian soldiers, worship practices, and clerical care given in hospitals and prisons. All of these are presented in an extremely orderly, well-documented manner, using many actual diary quotes and copious footnotes from other authors in the subject area.