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Posted March 11, 2011
One of the best Civil War books ever!
Tens of thousands of books have been written about the War Between the States, and I have read more of them than I can count - mostly written from a Northern perspective. When I discovered this volume, "Everything you were taught about the Civil War is wrong, ask a Southerner," by Lochlainn Seabrook, it immediately went to the top of my list of favorites. Being an author myself, with six published books to my credit, I must admit that I envy the ability of Seabrook to express himself on the printed page in a way that is easy to understand, yet powerful and thought provoking. I had a very hard time putting it down, and I've found myself going back to read many passages again and again.
Actually, if your reading schedule demands that you put this book down before you finish reading it cover to cover, that's okay too. Each of the chapters can stand alone, making it an excellent book for either browsing or for reading straight through.
In the introduction, historian and author Lochlainn Seabrook, makes this bold assertion: ". slavery started in the North, abolition began in the South, Abraham Lincoln was a rabid white racist, Jefferson Davis adopted a black child, 95 percent of Southern blacks supported the Confederacy, and the Yanks started the way, a conflict that was illegal from start to finish." Then, in the next 22 chapters he makes his case in a manner which no intellectually honest person can easily refute. Seabrook states much more than just his personal opinions. He backs up every page with extensive notes and bibliography, quoting primary sources instead of just rehashing the words and prejudices of court historians.
The introduction to the book is written by the distinguished black educator from Memphis, Tennessee, Nelson W. Winbush, who said, ""I'm proud to be a real grandson, having in my possession the Confederate Battle Flag that draped my grandfather's coffin, a reunion jacket and cap, numerous newspaper articles and reunion pictures. I was five when he passed and I still remember war stories as told me by my grandfather." Another thing I liked about the book is that it closes with a very practical list, including contacts, entitled "How you can help preserve the South." I found this very helpful.
I must admit that this book made me angry. Having been born in the Midwest, reared mostly in the South, and living much of my adult life in the North, I was taught, from elementary school through college, only a very one-sided version of the "Civil War." I wish I had discovered this book and others like it much earlier.
The last three words of the title, "Ask a Southerner," is not always the best advice. The sad fact is that the majority of Southerners learn their own history from textbooks written by Northern authors, taught by politically correct teachers and professors - blindly passing down the same misconceptions and prejudices from one generation to another. All Americans would benefit from reading "Everything you were taught about the Civil War is wrong." Prepare to be challenged - enlightened - and maybe even made angry that you weren't taught these truths before.
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