Beyond The Battlefield / Edition 1

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During the past decade and a half, scholars have increasingly addressed the relationship of history and memory. Among American historians, David W. Blight has been a pioneer in the field of memory studies, especially on the problems of slavery, race, and the Civil War. In this collection of essays, Blight examines the meanings embedded in the causes, course, and consequences of the Civil War, the nature of changing approaches to African American history, and the significance of race in the ways Americans, North and South, black and white, developed historical memories of the nation's most divisive event.

The book as a whole demonstrates several ways to probe the history of memory, to understand how and why groups of Americans have constructed versions of the past in the service of contemporary social needs. Topics range from the writing and thought of Frederick Douglass and W.E.B. Du Bois to a comparison of Abraham Lincoln and Douglass on the level of language and memory. The volume also includes a compelling study of the values of a single Union soldier, an analysis of Ken Burns's PBS series "The Civil War," and a retrospective treatment of the distinguished African American historian Nathan I. Huggins.

Taken together, these lucidly written pieces offer a thoroughgoing assessment of the stakes of Civil War memory and their consequences for American race relations. "Beyond the Battlefield" demonstrates not only why we should preserve and study our Civil War battlefields, but also why we should lift our vision above those landscapes and ponder all the unfinished questions of healing and justice, of racial harmony and disharmony, that still bedevil our society and our historical imagination.

generally.— Scott A. Sandage, Carnegie Mellon University
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Editorial Reviews

Bringing together 12 essays and lectures spanning a period of fifteen years, Blight (history and black studies, Amherst College) explores three primary concerns: the meaning of the American Civil War, the nature of African American history and the significance of race in American history generally, and the character and purpose of the study of historical memory. Along the way, he touches upon such topics as the tangled relationship between the memory of the Civil war and the memory of black emancipation, the leadership and relationship of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. Du Bois's contribution to historical memory, Ken Burn's treatment of the Civil War, and controversies over battlefield remembrances and memorial constructions. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781558493612
  • Publisher: University of Massachusetts Press
  • Publication date: 7/29/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 820,304
  • Product dimensions: 6.08 (w) x 9.18 (h) x 0.54 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Confluence of History and Memory 1
1 Several Lives in One: Frederick Douglass's Autobiographical Art 11
2 They Knew What Time It Was: African Americans and the Coming of the Civil War 28
3 No Desperate Hero: Manhood and Freedom in a Union Soldier's Experience 53
4 Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass: A Relationship in Language, Politics, and Memory 76
5 "For Something beyond the Battlefield": Frederick Douglass and the Struggle for the Memory of the Civil War 93
6 A Quarrel Forgotten or a Revolution Remembered? Reunion and Race in the Memory of the Civil War, 1875-1913 120
7 The Shaw Memorial in the Landscape of Civil War Memory 153
8 Healing and History: Battlefields and the Problem of Civil War Memory 170
9 Fifty Years of Freedom: The Memory of Emancipation at the Civil War Semicentennial, 1911-1915 191
10 Homer with a Camera, Our Iliad without the Aftermath: Ken Burns's Dialogue with Historians 211
11 W. E. B. DuBois and the Struggle for American Historical Memory 223
12 In Retrospect: Nathan Irvin Huggins, the Art of History, and the Irony of the American Dream 258
Epilogue: The Riddle of Collective Memory and the American Civil War 278
Index 281
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