30 May 2010

Remembering the Civil War


On this Memorial Day weekend, we might well think especially of the war that gave rise to Decoration Day, in time so renamed.

Nancy Pearl has made the observation that every generation of Americans since the end of the civil war has re-written that war in fictional form to reflect its own "dreams, desires, fears, and beliefs."

The nineteenth century was not over yet when Crane wrote RED BADGE OF COURAGE.

Forty years after Crane, Mitchell's GONE WITH THE WIND gave us a crystallization of nostalgia for the antebllum society of Tara and the O'Hara clan.

Twenty years after that, MacKinley Kantor wrote ANDERSONVILLE, a novelization of the horrors of life in that prisoner-of-war camp.

Identifying more recent books is easy. Deciding which of the more recent ones deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as those is more difficult. COLD MOUNTAIN by Charles Frazier, can make a strong claim. Pearl mentions others.

On a trip through Virginia a few years ago, I noticed that the sports teams of Appomattox High School call themselves "The Generals." I bet when they lose, the sportswriters of the towns of the rival team can't help but begin with a lede like this: The Appomattox Generals surrendered again Wednesday to the Jubreau Devil's crushing linesmen...."

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I would like to bring to your attention what I believe is a unique book and an unknown but very moving story that may be of interest for those with a Civil War ancestor-- Hiram's Honor: Reliving Private Terman's Civil War, ISBN 978-0615-27812-4. A recent comment from a Pennsylvania reviewer:

"Max R. Terman has masterfully crafted an engrossing novel that is difficult to set down. Once you begin reading, you are transported back nearly 150 years to the time of division, heartache, and chaos that became known as the American Civil War. His ancestor’s story comes to life in a fascinating new work that is certain to become a classic among historical novels..." Civil War author and historian from York, Pa.
For the complete review, see http://scottmingus.wordpress.com/2010/03/12/book-review-hiram/

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