Vicksburg's Long Shadow: The Civil War Legacy of Race and Remembrance / Edition 1

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Overview

During the hottest days of the summer of 1863, while the nation's attention was focused on a small town in Pennsylvania known as Gettysburg, another momentous battle was being fought along the banks of the Mississippi. In the longest single campaign of the war, the siege of Vicksburg left 19,000 dead and wounded on both sides, gave the Union Army control of the Mississippi, and left the Confederacy cut in half. In this highly-anticipated new work, Christopher Waldrep takes a fresh look at how the Vicksburg campaign was fought and remembered. He begins with a gripping account of the battle, deftly recounting the experiences of African-American troops fighting for the Union. Waldrep shows how as the scars of battle faded, the memory of the war was shaped both by the Northerners who controlled the battlefield and by the legacies of race and slavery that played out over the decades that followed.

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Editorial Reviews

The Journal Of American History
Memory is a hot topic in Civil War history right now, and Vicksburg's Long Shadow makes some valuable contributions to the genre. Waldrep's careful delineation of the ways that northerners and the federal government shaped the southern landscape adds nuance to our understanding of the power of the Lost Cause. At the same time, Waldrep is careful to remind us that northern memories of the war were often no more focused on emancipation and less distorted than those of white southerners.
Dallas Morning News
The artifacts uncovered for Vicksburg's Long Shadow: The Civil War Legacy of Race and Remembrance include 633 endnotes. There are references from the Civil War generals' memoirs . . . but many more taken from the journals, letters, and diaries of ordinary soldiers and civilians of Vicksburg during the war and Reconstruction era. . . . What is clear from his findings is the warning to any culture setting out to right another culture's wrongs: Understand the culture and its myths, it is one thing to prevail over it militarily. It is quite another to change its beliefs.
— Tom Dodge
American Historical Review
This book, then, is both a fascinating case study that hones in on the particular memory of a critical Civil War battle and a work of scholarship that engages much broader concern and methodologies in Civil War studies.
H-Net Reviews
This important study will surely serve as the standard for years to come.
Journal of American History
Memory is a hot topic in Civil War history right now, and Vicksburg's Long Shadow makes some valuable contributions to the genre. Waldrep's careful delineation of the ways that northerners and the federal government shaped the southern landscape adds nuance to our understanding of the power of the Lost Cause. At the same time, Waldrep is careful to remind us that northern memories of the war were often no more focused on emancipation and less distorted than those of white southerners.
H-Net: Humanities and Social Science Reviews Online
This important study will surely serve as the standard for years to come.
Journal Of American History
Memory is a hot topic in Civil War history right now, and Vicksburg's Long Shadow makes some valuable contributions to the genre. Waldrep's careful delineation of the ways that northerners and the federal government shaped the southern landscape adds nuance to our understanding of the power of the Lost Cause. At the same time, Waldrep is careful to remind us that northern memories of the war were often no more focused on emancipation and less distorted than those of white southerners.
H-Net
This important study will surely serve as the standard for years to come.
Michael B. Ballard
A fascinating analysis of how the aftermath of the Vicksburg campaign impacted soldiers, generals, African-Americans, American society north and south, and the city itself.
John David Smith
With unusual clarity, penetrating insight, and wry understatement, in Vicksburg's Long Shadow Chris Waldrep unravels the how and why of the Civil War commemorations of Vicksburg, Mississippi. Like the best of the 'new' memory studies, Waldrep explains historical remembrance as a function of prevailing power. White northerners, not white southerners, generally fashioned Vicksburg's historical landscape, all the while solidifying the federal government's influence and power. Vicksburg's Long Shadow combines fresh primary research and informed synthesis. Waldrep's book is an original addition to the growing field of Civil War-era historical memory.
Ted Ownby
The only thing most people know about the issue of Civil War memory in Vicksburg, Mississippi is that many locals refused to celebrate July 4th for years after the War. By studying a large cast of characters from the 1860s through the 1930s, this unique and thoroughly researched work shows that the competing memories of the Civil War involved African Americans fighting for emancipation, the defiance of local whites, the strategies of generals, the commitment of various soldiers, the issue of reconciliation, and, finally, the irony of a federally funded park that Vicksburg’s residents welcomed and celebrated.
Dwight T. Pitcaithley
Waldrep excels in exploring the political minefield of northern veterans creating a park to Grant’s success in a Southern city. Along the way, he confronts slavery’s lingering legacy of racism and the federal government’s concession to the Lost Cause interpretation of the war. Vicksburg’s Long Shadow teaches us much about how national battlefield parks are created and Civil War memories constructed.
The Dallas Morning News - Tom Dodge
The artifacts uncovered for Vicksburg's Long Shadow: The Civil War Legacy of Race and Remembrance include 633 endnotes. There are references from the Civil War generals' memoirs . . . but many more taken from the journals, letters, and diaries of ordinary soldiers and civilians of Vicksburg during the war and Reconstruction era. . . . What is clear from his findings is the warning to any culture setting out to right another culture's wrongs: Understand the culture and its myths, it is one thing to prevail over it militarily. It is quite another to change its beliefs.
Library Journal
Waldrep (history, San Francisco State Univ.; The Many Faces of Judge Lynch) asks why the fall of Vicksburg, MS, in July 1863 has remained in the shadow of American memory and interest, eclipsed by the concurrent Confederate losses at the battle of Gettysburg as the turning point in the war and ignored by Southerners wanting to forget defeat. He shows how different constituencies constructed competing memories of the battle, with some suppressed, especially in the case of black troops, whose wartime valor was lost in whites' postwar accounts. The dominating accounts fostered sectional reconciliation by emphasizing the bravery and honor of white Northern and Southern soldiers alike. Generals also co-opted the meaning of the battle, making it solely a story of strategy and tactics. Waldrep shows how reunions, memorial days, and the establishment of a national cemetery and the Vicksburg National Military Park kept alive these aracial memories of the battle, promoting patriotism and military heroism. He demands a more complex, racialized view that asks why men fought, not just how they fought-questions that now rage as reenactors and the National Park Service fight over what should be taught at Civil War battlefields and why we should care about the war at all. Highly recommended.-Randall M. Miller, Saint Joseph's Univ., Philadelphia Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Christopher Waldrep is Jamie and Phyllis Pasker Professor of American History at San Francisco State University. He is the author of many books and articles on the American South, including Roots of Disorder: Race and Criminal Justice in the American South, 1817–80 and The Many Faces of Judge Lynch: Extralegal Violence and Punishment in America.

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Table of Contents

Introduction
Prologue
Chapter 1: War
Chapter 2: The Meaning of the Civil War in Reconstruction
Chapter 3: The Generals' War
Chapter 4: The Boys from Iowa
Chapter 5: The Great Reunion
Chapter 6: A Farewell to Arms
Chapter 7: A New Deal
Epilogue
Appendix 1: Herman Lieb's Report on Milliken's Bend
Appendix 2: "The Battle of Milliken's Bend," by David Cornwell
Appendix 3: Reported Lynchings in Warren County, Mississippi
Appendix 4: State Monuments on the Vicksburg Battleground
Bibliographic essay

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