The foreword notes that the Sharpsburg area was the first organized American community to suffer both from combat and the sustained presence of two opposing armies. The combat was, of course, the September 1862 battle of Antietam, well known as the bloodiest day in American history. Ernst says that her book is one of stories. In so doing she observes the trend to explain history through the eyes of common people, rather than those of the generals, presidents, kings and other eminencies who have fueled traditional historical narrative. Ernst has dug deep into the letters, diaries, I-was-there personal accounts and oral histories of the days immediately before and after Antietam, as well as during the carnage itself. Ample photographs give human form to the names encountered throughout the book. The result is a smoothly written work blending the military and civilian dimensions of Lee's invasion of Maryland that, on a golden September day, etched into national memory names such as the Dunker Church, the Cornfield, the Sunken Road and Burnside's Bridge. Some of these stories illuminate dark subjects. Ernst's discussion of slavery in Frederick and Washington Counties reminds us that it was more prevalent in Western Maryland than we realize-the 1860 census recorded over 4600 slaves in the area. That there were then still three slave-selling sites in Hagerstown suggests that this region was populated by more than unionist German immigrants who opposed slavery. Ernst might have cited the definitive work on 19th century Maryland slavery, Slavery and Freedom on the Middle Ground. The devastating psychological and economic impacts of the Antietam campaign on civilians are powerfully told through anecdote. The words of Allen Sparrow and Alexander Root convey their terror during the fighting in the passes of South Mountain, which preceded Antietam by several days. Ernst's vivid account of this battle sets the stage for the following days (including the tale of the soldier who shared a blanket with a comrade, only to learn at sunrise that he'd slept with a corpse). Maps showing topography and troop movements would have been helpful. The eighth chapter concludes movingly with accounts of area civilians coping with a landscape that had changed dramatically in the preceding two weeks. Their short-term travails included suspicious federal troops on the lookout for renegade rebels and anyone thought to be helping them; longer-term, of course, these folks faced years of rebuilding and, in some cases, economic ruin because of the battle. The last two chapters venture beyond the Antietam campaign. Lacking the depth of the first eight, they summarize the impact of the Confederate 1863 Gettysburg and 1864 Monocacy campaigns on the region. Chapter nine begins in 1863 with federal conscription in the region and Lee's move through the area on his way to Gettysburg, where the battle is touched upon through the eyes of several locals. Post-Gettysburg skirmishes in the area are mentioned, followed by the rebel retreat. Jubal Early's move through the area in July 1864, en route to his raid on Washington, concludes the chapter. The treatment of these latter campaigns seems a cursory afterthought given the compelling details surrounding Antietam that comprise the book's theme. Ernst returns to slavery in her last chapter. She describes the impact of the Antietam and Gettysburg campaigns on the "peculiar institution," and local reaction to Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. She relates how free blacks and slaves were recruited into the Union army. Harrowing extracts from the diary of Otho Nesbitt, a Clear Spring slaveowner and unionist, tell of kidnapped blacks taken south by retreating rebels. Though the Confederates are known to have done this at times (as in 1863, in Chambersburg, PA), Ernst has unearthed a compelling eyewitness account of black abductions by rebels during their three major sojourns into Maryland during the Civil War. Her account also prompts us to remember that pro-union did not always mean anti-slavery. Letters and diaries describe the unrelenting efforts of families rebuilding homes, farms and lives shattered by battle. Men return from soldiering to farm again; a few were lucky enough to marry the sweethearts they'd left behind. Plowers of fields unearth the bones of the dead, and legend claims that bloodstains in field and hearth mysteriously reappear for years. Poignant reunions of veterans and civilians include the account of Kate Rudy visiting the newly elected Rutherford B. Hayes, whose injured shoulder at South Mountain her family had nursed. To Afraid to Cry is poorly referenced in places. Ernst throughout cites secondary works that themselves cite original sources, but her notes frequently provide only the former. Worse are references improperly cited. On page 194, for example, the author refers to the relief civilians felt following the departure of the union army, and gives as her source pages 244-45 of an unpublished dissertation by Duncan. But those pages in Duncan do not contain that information. The same page mistakenly attributes Duncan's prose to that of an 1862 New York Times reporter. And Landscape Turned Red, perhaps the definitive work on Antietam, is improperly assigned a quotation-"the whole country forlorn and desolate" does not appear on page 34 of that book, as Ernst's page 194 says it does. Another problem appears on pages 45 and 50, where the author quotes William Owen of the Washington Artillery of New Orleans. She cites as her sources not Owen himself but The Gleam of Bayonets-while listing Owen in her own bibliography (albeit with incorrect title, publisher and publication year). There are also inconsistencies in the treatment of misspellings inside original quotations-on page 23 the author corrects the misspelling of "privilege," yet on page 45 she lets stand the misspelling, "permiscus." Kathleen Ernst has knit a splendid archival tapestry that enriches our grasp of the seamy underside of war-the suffering of everyday people caught in the crosshairs of America's bloodiest day. Many stories of Maryland's pivotal role in the Civil War await telling, and Too Afraid To Cry shows us how captivating they are coming straight from the mouths of Marylanders.