Pulitzer Prize-winning historian C. Vann Woodward and Chesnut's biographer Elisabeth Muhlenfeld present here the previously unpublished Civil War diaries of Mary Boykin Chesnut. The ideal diarist, Mary Chesnut was at the right place at the right time with the right connections. Daughter of one senator from South Carolina and wife of another, she had kin and friends all over the Confederacy and knew intimately its political and military leaders. At Montgomery when the new nation was founded, at Charleston when the war started, and at Richmond during many crises, she traveled extensively during the war. She watched a world "literally kicked to pieces" and left the most vivid account we have of the death throes of a society. The diaries, filled with personal revelations and indiscretions, are indispensable to an appreciation of our most famous Southern literary insight into the Civil War experience.