In this stunning and well-researched book, Kevin Levin catches the new waves of the study of memory, black soldiers, and the darker underside of the Civil War as well as anyone has. That horrible day at the Crater in Petersburg, its brutal racial facts and legacies, all tangled in the weeds of Confederate Lost Cause lore, have never been exposed like this. Levin is both superb scholar and public historian, showing us a piece of the real war that does not get into the books, or into site interpretation.
Levin offers something new and valuable in this book. His approach of unpacking the complex telling and forgetting of the events surrounding one battle allows him a focus and specificity that even many very good treatments of historical memory often lack.
Remembering the Battle of the Crater stands to make a real and lasting contribution to the field of Civil War memory studies.
Levin contextualizes the emancipationists interpretation within Virginia politics and charts its ultimate triumph during the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Recommended.
This is an important study of memory, race, and the Battle of the Crater. Levin traces the troubled story of how the Mine Attack at Petersburg was remembered by survivors and contemporary generations alike, and he makes clear and frank judgments about the tortured ways in which Americans have dealt with, or avoided, key racial aspects of the battle. Levin offers significant and convincing insights as he sheds light on our understanding of historical memory.
[Levin's] straightforward, non-opinionated style is refreshing. Overall, it is a well written book. I highly recommend this book for its unique content and welcome its divergent opinion.
Illuminates the roles of race and politics in shaping our collective history of the war.
"Levin offers something new and valuable in this book. His approach of unpacking the complex telling and forgetting of the events surrounding one battle allows him a focus and specificity that even many very good treatments of historical memory often lack.
Remembering the Battle of the Crater stands to make a real and lasting contribution to the field of Civil War memory studies." Anne Marshall, author of Creating a Confederate Kentucky: The Lost Cause and Civil War Memory in a Border State
A well-researched and nuanced case study... adds valuable insights about race and site interpretation to the fields of Civil War memory and public history. Levin nonetheless reinforces the idea that how human beings remember warfare is just as important as the battles themselves.
Journal of Military History
Levin has given us a wonderful insight not only into the ever-evolving nature of Civil War memory, but he has also helped illuminate the interplay between race and politics in our collective rendering of the war.
Levin, known to many historians for his acclaimed blog
Civil War Memory, deftly explores the role of race in this battle for memory.
Journal of Southern History
On the whole, Levin has produced a thoroughly researched and carefully argued study... The result is a solid academic book that firmly establishes Levin as an important scholar and public voice on the Civil War, race, and memory.
Journal of American History
This is a thoughtful and well-written work, based on solid research.
Remembering The Battle of the Crater] centers on the well documented 'massacre' of the United States Colored Troops by Confederate soldiers during and after the battle, carrying the story on through the eras of the Lost Cause, Virginia's Reconstruction and Readjuster Movement. Levin's work offers a refreshing and inquisitive look at the battle and how the role of the USCT's is now coming into light in subsequent preservation and interpretation efforts.
An excellent book that more people should make an effort to read.
Review Those that can't write
Remembering the Battle of the Crater is a well-researched and well-written book. Civil War buffs should find it to be an especially interesting read—one of the many important new studies that are being published to celebrate the sesquicentennial of the conflict.
Journal of America's Military Past
Remembering the Battle of the Crater: War as Murder by Kevin Levin offers a valuable addition to the growing body of scholarship on the American Civil War and popular memory. Levin shows how, for much of the post-war period, the story of the battle of the Crater was explained in terms of the courage of the white combatants and their honor in fighting for what they believed in. Minimizing and ignoring the role of black troops at the Crater made it possible to evade divisive issues arising from slavery and racism. While acknoledging a debt to David Blight's Race and Reunion, Levin's succint and thought-provoking book makes its own contributions to our understanding of the Civil War's place in the public conciousness.
Levin addresses the shared recollection of a battle that epitomizes the way Americans have chosen to remember and how the racial component of the war's history was portrayed... illuminating the social changes and challenges experienced by the nation as a whole.