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Robert Roper: Now the Drum of War

Robert Roper: Now the Drum of War

Walt Whitman and his Brothers in the Civil War. USA 2009, 423 pp., brochure,  16.59
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Walt Whitman's work as a nurse in the Civil War profoundly affected his worldview as well as his poetry. Much less well known is the extraordinary war record of his brother George W. Whitman, who led his men in 21 battles, from Antietam to the Wilderness. At the center of the book, Roper focuses on Whitman's emotional relations with the young wounded soldiers he nursed, showing in effect that these homoerotic bonds can be seen as the semipaternal manifestation of his relationships with his much younger brothers. Drawing on the letters between Walt, George, their mother, and other brothers, and on original interpretations of the great poet, this book chronicles the experience of an archetypal, dysfunctional American family.
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