Born into Southern aristocracy, Mary Boykin Chesnut (1823–86) married a rising star of the political scene who ultimately served as an aide to Confederate President Jefferson Davis. As a prominent hostess and popular guest in the highest circles of Confederate society, Chesnut possessed an insider's perspective on many of the Civil War's major events, which she recorded in vivid journal entries. Her diary recounts the social life that struggled to continue in the midst of war, the grim economic conditions that resulted from blockaded ports as well as how people's spirits rose and fell with each victory and defeat. Hailed by William Styron as "a great epic drama of our greatest national tragedy," Chesnut's annotated diary won the Pulitzer Prize for History in 1982 and served as a primary source for Ken Burns's celebrated Civil War documentary. This edition of the compelling narrative features photos and engravings from the original publication.