Customer Reviews for

Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War

Average Rating 4.5
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(45)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

As a Confederate reenactor and an SCV member...

Tony's witty writing style and jovial observations made this book enjoyable. I especially like the fact that he actually visited various places in the South before passing judgement. At least he TRIED to be objective and unbiased! This is more than most outsiders aff...
Tony's witty writing style and jovial observations made this book enjoyable. I especially like the fact that he actually visited various places in the South before passing judgement. At least he TRIED to be objective and unbiased! This is more than most outsiders afford our beloved homeland.

posted by Anonymous on January 20, 2000

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Most Helpful Critical Review

5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

Good, but burdened by stereotypes

Yep, Horwitz is a good writer. This book is alternately funny and insightful in many places. Unfortunately, Horwitz takes too many disturbing tangets into racial stereotyping. Too many white southerners are painted as hick,racist rubes and he seems to do this for no o...
Yep, Horwitz is a good writer. This book is alternately funny and insightful in many places. Unfortunately, Horwitz takes too many disturbing tangets into racial stereotyping. Too many white southerners are painted as hick,racist rubes and he seems to do this for no other reason than to maintain an edge of cynical elitism (if you read his other books, he cops a similar attitude towards the Iraquis and the Australians). Especially disturbing is Horwitz's character asassination of a young white father of two who was gunned down by a black man for no other reason than having a rebel flag in the window of his truck. Horwitz comes dangerously close to declaring that flying the rebel flag is grounds for justifiable homicide. Scary. Sad too, for this agenda spoiled what otherwise was a great book.

posted by Anonymous on March 28, 2000

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2013

    This book isnt just about re-enactments

    Easily one of the best books detailing contemporary views of both north and south black and white. This book details how the civil war polarizes even re-enactors who proclaim they are keeping history alive. There are parts in this book that will give you goose bumps and there are parts thst will leave you shaking your head im disbelief. Personally I would jump at an opportunity to follow the same route that the author did. Still however at the last page you will feel as though you have come to the end of a long journey that you are not just ready to have end. This is a must read for every civil war buff. It will change what you thought you knew about the civil war.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2012

    Timely reading

    Despite the fact that 13 years have passed since the first printing, this book is just as timely as our country recognizes the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. It makes one ponder the past and the role of its memories on the present.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 3, 2011

    History comes alive, and it's a fascinating look into the Southern mind!

    So interesting and well-written!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2000

    Why haven't you read this book you farb?

    Every American should read this book. I never new how little I knew, not just about the Civil War, but about the reasons and realities of relations between northerners and southerners, blacks and whites, farbs and hardcores. I originally picked it up because I figured it'd be worth a laugh or two, but I, like the author, had no idea what I was getting into. It's just a terrific piece of work, and easily the most important thing I've read since Breakpoint and Beyond.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 23, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    They walk among us...

    The Civil War never ended for most of the people in this book. Even in 1998 (when the book was written) there exists a sub-culture of die hard supporters of the Confederate States of America (CSA).

    Now, we're not just talking about hardcore weirdos,although they populate a lot of the book. North Carolina brings us the Cats of the Confederacy (yes, cats!); South Carolina , where artist Manning Williams toils on a painting that he'll says he'll never complete. The title? "Lincoln in Hell".

    But there are also people for whom the war may have ended but they do their best to keep its ideals alive. Racial prejudice often going hand in hand with religious intolerance (blacks and Jews mainly) are an accepted cultural reality. A young white man is shot down in cold blood by a carload of black teenagers. Why? He drove his truck, proudly displaying the rebel flag flying in the rear, through a predominantly black neighborhood. Certainly not a reason for murder, but was it an intentional provocation?

    A favorite character in the book for me was hardcore re-enactor Robert Lee Hodge, who will do almost anything to experience life as a soldier during the Civil War. Rail thin, unkempt, eating only what the soldiers ate, wearing clothes as close as possibly authentic to reality, he travels the Civil War trails and battlefields experiencing the war, but also answering questions and even recruiting others to the re-enactor cause.

    The author accompanies him on a "Civil Wargasm", a week long warp speed trek of the war, from Gettysburg to Antietam to the Shenandoah Valley and dozens of battlefields in between !

    I loved the book (although it deeply disturbed me as well), it's filled with Civil War trivia, the correction of many long held war myths, and for the most part a fairly unbiased look at the people who live in the places the war was fought in. It helps to have some idea of the historical context of the war, but the author makes it clear what's going on (now and then). If you are a history buff or just someone interested in southern culture and beliefs, this is just the book for you.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 4, 2009

    Humorous and insightful

    This is my favorite Tony Horwitz book. It explores the question of why the South remains so nostalgic about a war that it lost. A southerner by birth and inclination, Tony Horwitz provides an answer that is honest and entertaining--laugh out loud funny at times, but honest at others. Highly recommended to anyone who wants to learn more about the effect of the Civil War on modern times.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2008

    Add to your Civil War library

    If you are a Civil War buff or a history buff this is a must read. I am reading it for the third time. It is one of those books you must have in your Civil War library.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2008

    Wonderful but Disturbing

    A great read if you have an interest in the American South. However, parts of it are sort of disturbing. For interest the author has chosen some of the most colorful southerners he could find. Read, enjoy, take it for what it is. I found it hard to put down.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2008

    NOT Farb!!

    This was a great book written at a time when most Americans assume (incorrectly, as it turns out) the Civil War was long settled. Horwitz takes a serious, though many times laugh-out-loud funny, look at how the American Civil War is viewed today in the states in which it was fought. A great read, and the readewr feels as if he is right alongside the author during this investigative journey.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2014

    Great read!

    A fun and interesting look at the civil war and the southern states it still affects to this day.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2014

    Awesome Book

    An awesome book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2011

    A sesquincentennial must read

    One of the.most interesting books I have ever read.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2007

    Shows how history shapes us today

    'Many people wonder why history is such an important subject to study. Tony Horowitz's book shows us why. The main reason I like this book is that it shows how historical events can shape how we are today. History shapes our beliefs, culture, and society in general. By acknowledging this we can begin to understand why people are the way they are BUT we can also acknowledge why many have chosen to change. Horowitz discovers this in his ventures to the south while embracing his love of Civil War history. I find it even more interesting how a boy from New York wanted to participate on the Southern side of the war with the re-enactors. It seems to show his openess to the people he came to interview. I have seen some reviewers call this a 'South Bashing' book but I don't see that at all. I see it as someone who has chosen to accept a new friend --warts and all. Some people also have stated that you have to be from the South to enjoy this but I disagree. Have loaned it to a few people: one from Georgia, one from Nebraska, and one from Wyoming. They all have enjoyed it. In fact, I'm having a hard time getting it back from the Wyoming one! He has read it more than once. I would like to see a similar compa

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2007

    You've got to read this!!!

    I read this book for pleasure and now I'm going to assign it in the college class I teach on the Civil War. I think it will give my students some great new insight in additiom to providing some great topics for conversation.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2006

    Robert Lee Hodge is absolutely fascinating character!!

    As a white southern male with strong genealogical roots in Confederate Heritage, I found myself teetering on the brink of dismissing this book as an attempt of a northern writer to paint his subject with the typical broad brush of stereotype. But the more I read, the more a sincere respect and friendship became apparent between Tony Horwitz and the central character, Rob lee Hodge. I think Horwitz may have actually been surprised by this development and it may have altered his original perceptions. Hodge is one of the most fascinating characters I have run accross in non-fiction.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2005

    Entertaining, humorous, & a wonderful journey

    As I was walking through the isle at Barnes In Noble I kept my eyes out for a somewhat humorous cover, hoping for a entertaining read and boy did I get it. Tony Horwitz aims to show how memories of the Civil War still remain with some Southerners and frequently manifest themselves in bizarre forms. Horwitz gives episodic accounts of his travels in the South, and has a good sense of the humorous side of every occasion. At the same time, he also reports on serious issues such as the rebel flag debate, and gives clear explanations of how Confederate apologists are manipulating the facts about the war to their own advantage in such situations. In my opinion, the character who made this book happen was Robert Lee Hodge (who prefers to be called a living historian) Horwitz followed him around on some of his reenactments. This man is the epitome of an obsessed person. Not even kidding. Whether it's demonstrating the Rebel Yell or imitating the bloating of dead soldiers, he is hilarious and can be easy pictured. Hodge tries his best to reproduce exactly the surroundings and actions of the Civil War soldier. I would highly recommend this book if you ever have to read a book over the civil war.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2005

    This book is funny, hands down, hilarious

    This book is hilarious. You get to meet some incredible characters who seem too good to be true, but they are actual people. Maybe even your neighbors. A quick read, Confederates in the Attic is perfect for a lot of different readers. Those who appreciate good travel writing will love this book. Those who seek out historical adventures will love this book. Those who like books that take a closer look on parts of our society and culture that aren't usually discussed will like this book. People who think the CSA flag should fly in as many places as possible will love this book. People who think honoring Robert E. Lee as a national hero is offensive to the American Dream will love this book. Because, honestly, there's something for everyone. And the title says it all. This book makes it clear that there are Civil War skirmishes across our nation every day.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2004

    The South ain't dead yet.

    Excellent Author. Book was easy to get into and made me want to keep reading just to see what would happen next. How he was able to get people to be so open about such a harsh subject as the war between the states is amazing. This is still a hot subject and can evoke deep emotion which I think he showed quite well.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2003

    A Hilarious- if not somewhat disturbing- book!

    This was one of the best books I have read in a long time. I enjoyed every bit of it. Although disturbing at some points (i.e. the spooning :) it really makes the reader think about the effects that the Civil War still has on our country.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 14, 2002

    It's Alive!

    I couldn't wait to get to the next page once I began reading this outstanding book. The Civil War is as alive today in the South as ever it was in 1861. A look at a topic that never seems to lose its fascination.

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