Myth of Nathan Bedford Forrest / Edition 1

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Overview

In an era that produced Stonewall Jackson, Ulysses S. Grant, and Robert E. Lee, Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest emerged as a legend in his own right—a notorious character of mythic proportions even in his day. In the twenty-first century, his legacy continues to polarize the South: as a symbol of the Lost Cause and hero to working-class Southerners on one hand, and emblem of slavery and lingering racial tensions on the other.

In this brisk and lively new book, Paul Ashdown and Edward Caudill explore the creation of this relentless Forrest myth. Scrutinizing literature, art, cinema and popular culture over the past 150 years, the authors contend that the legend is a creation of the nation's literature, its obsession with the Civil War, and its press.

Enthralling and informative, this book will captivate readers with the enigma that was Nathan Bedford Forrest.

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Editorial Reviews

Civil War News
This book is a fascinating compilation of material that focuses on Forrest and the mythology engendered by this controversial man. . . . The authors have contributed a solidly-researched volume to the existing literature on Forrest that helps explain the general's status as an icon of the white South.
H-War
The Myth of Nathan Bedford Forrest presents a good, if not in fact comprehensive, accounting of Forrest's various reincarnations as a mythical figure in American culture for nearly a century and a half. The authors' compilation of the general's assorted roles as a literary character is quite impressive.
— Harry S. Laver, Southeastern Louisiana University
Roanoke Times and World News
This book-length analysis will generate passions on both sides of the Forrest image.
— James I. Robertson Jr.
The Advocate
The Myth of Nathan Bedford Forrest is a critical analysis of the popularity of the Tennessee cavalry men. . . . It's essential reading for anyone interested in the Civil War.
— Greg Langley
The Advocate (Baton Rouge)
The Myth of Nathan Bedford Forrest is a critical analysis of the popularity of the Tennessee cavalry men…. It's essential reading for anyone interested in the Civil War.
— Greg Langley
The Civil War News
This book is a fascinating compilation of material that focuses on Forrest and the mythology engendered by this controversial man. . . . The authors have contributed a solidly-researched volume to the existing literature on Forrest that helps explain the general's status as an icon of the white South.
Library Journal
Was Nathan Bedford Forrest a masterful horseman, a common man who rose to wealth prior to the war through his own industry, an innovative Confederate military commander, and a hero of the Lost Cause? Or was he an uncontrollably aggressive man, an exploitative slave trader who ordered the massacre of black troops who had surrendered to him, and a founder of one of the nation's most despised institutions, the Ku Klux Klan? A colorful and controversial character, the Forrest we know is, above all, a composite of the many facts and legends that have found their way into biographies, histories, film, and even historical fiction (e.g., Faulkner). Here, Ashdown and Caudill (both journalism & electronic media, Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville; coauthors, The Mosby Myth) examine this body of work and conclude that the myths surrounding Forrest's life spring as much from American culture and created memory as from his own vivid life. While the "real" Nathan Beford Forrest remains elusive even when readers have completed the book, this wide-ranging interpretive work-which draws on the disciplines of history, journalism, American studies, and literature-is the first of its kind to deal with Forrest. Recommended for large Civil War collections and academic libraries.-Theresa McDevitt, Indiana Univ. of Pennsylvania Lib. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Paul Ashdown is professor of journalism and public relations and acting director of the School of Journalism and Public Relations at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Edward Caudill is professor of journalism as well as associate dean at the School of Journalism and Public Relations at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Their previous book, The Mosby Myth: A Confederate Hero in Life and Legend was a History Book Club selection.

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Table of Contents

Introduction Part I: Dreams of Glory Chapter 1: A Future Foretold Chapter 2: A River of Blood Chapter 3: The Country of the Damned Part II: Mythmakers Chapter 4: Forrest and the Press Chapter 5: Monkeys and Manifestoes Chapter 6: Hydra and Heracles Part III: No Peace in Tennessee Chapter 7: Only the Dead Can Ride Bibliography

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