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Living by InchesThe Smells, Sounds, Tastes, and Feeling of Captivity in Civil War Prisons$
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Evan A. Kutzler

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781469653785

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469653785.001.0001

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The Thoughts and Acts of Hungry Men

The Thoughts and Acts of Hungry Men

Chapter:
(p.104) Chapter Five The Thoughts and Acts of Hungry Men
Source:
Living by Inches
Author(s):

Evan A. Kutzler

Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/northcarolina/9781469653785.003.0006

No single aspect of Civil War prison history has been more controversial than food. Unfortunately, policy and administrative histories tend to devalue how prisoners tasted captivity at the individual and local level. This chapter restores that individuality and the autonomy of experience by following how prisoners responded to privation. While there was no universal experience surrounding food in captivity, prisoners generally believed that hunger was a decivilizing force that—if unchecked—turned men into animals. Hunger changed what was edible, what tasted satisfying, and food scarcity animated prison life from markets to gambling. It made products like coffee and tobacco more—not less—essential to the internal struggle of captivity.

Keywords:   food history, taste, hunger, starvation, coffee, tobacco

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