This book addresses the most important issues associated with Confederate desertion. How many soldiers actually deserted, when did they desert, and why? What does Confederate desertion say about Confederate nationalism and the war effort? Mark A. Weitz has taken his argument beyond the obvious reasons for desertion–that war is a horrific and cruel experience—and examined the emotional and psychological reasons that might induce a soldier to desert. Just as loyalty to his fellow soldiers might influence a man to charge into a hail of lead, loyalty to his wife and family could also lead him to risk a firing squad in order to return home.
"Using Georgia as a case study, Weitz offers a revisionist approach to standard interpretations of Confederate desertion patterns. . . . All levels."—Choice
"Author Weitz has produced a compelling study well told and well researched. Its appeal is not limited to a regional audience but to anyone interested in little-known chapters of Civil War history. Not only has he made the deserter understandable to the armchair historian but also human."—Jack Koblas, Civil War News
”An authoritative, impressive work. Well researched and convincingly argues, Higher Duty addresses a much-neglected aspect of Civil War history.”—The Journal of Military History
"The topic of Confederate desertion remains one of the least well understood in the field of Civil War scholarship. Mark A. Weitz’s study of desertion among Georgia’s Confederate soldiers is a perceptive treatment of an important state that helps flesh out our understanding of why and when men left the ranks. With luck, this book will inspire further work on other Confederate states."—Gary W. Gallagher, author of The Confederate War
"Mark A. Weitz has produced an impressive work on an important and much neglected aspect of the Civil War. Well written and researched, it is one of the very few works that go straight to the heart of why the Confederacy lost the war."—David Williams, author of Rich Man’s War: Class, Caste, and Confederate Defeat in the Lower Chattahoochee Valley
"Weitz makes a significant contribution to Civil War studies. This is a book that will be cited frequently and discussed often. It’s a real winner."—Kenneth W. Noe, author of Southwest Virginia’s Railroad: Modernization and the Sectional Crisis