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AfroAmerican Heritage.comThought-provoking... Required reading for anyone interested in topics of race and/or culture in the U.S.
— Gerri Gribi
— Gerri Gribi
— Jim Flook
— Joan E. Cashin
|2||Reunion and resistance||21|
|3||Martyrdom and memory||38|
|4||Abe Lincoln's mixed reviews||56|
|6||The regendered Civil War||92|
|7||The virtual Civil War||110|
|8||The transnational Civil War||129|
|Conclusion : 'history is my starting point'||146|
Posted February 2, 2007
This slim volume covers a LOT of territory. It explores and analyzes the pervasive influence of the American Civil War (or as it's known in some quarters, the War of Northern Aggression) on many aspects of culture, including literature, film, music, marketing, video games...and even overseas. It covers so much territory in fact, that it's difficult to sum up in a review, so I'll just hit a few things which stand out in my mind. It explores the roots of notions like 'plantation nostalgia' (those good old days of happy slaves, the foundation of 'Gone With the Wind' and 'Song of the South') which were planted in the Antebellum years and grew to fruition during Reconstruction and after. I particularly enjoyed the chapter on 'Abe Lincoln's Mixed Reviews,' which not only pits Lincoln's supporters against his detractors, but demonstrates how various politicians have called upon his spirit over the years to justify their actions or vilify others. (Or as the author puts it, the 'What Would Lincoln Do?' syndrome.) The chapter 'Rebels, Inc.' examines how Confederate images and icons have sold everything from whiskey to country music and t-shirts, and more subversively, the vision that 'Southerner' doesn't include African Americans, even though in many cities they are the majority. The chapter on Civil War re-enactors helped me understand how these folks manage to completely avoid any of the contentious political dimensions of the war, while focusing instead on authenticity of food, dress, weaponry, etc. Other topics include the cultural uses of martyrdom, the centrality of race and slavery, the War's destabilization of gender norms, and alternative histories...that is, 'What would have happened if the South had won?' In short, I'm guessing this is NOT a book your uncle the Civil War buff will enjoy. But it's required reading for anyone interested in topics of race and/or culture in the U.S.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.