November 2, 2014 / by admin / American History / No Comments

Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War

Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War

Tony Horwitz

Language: English

Pages: 432

ISBN: 067975833X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

National Bestseller 

When prize-winning war correspondent Tony Horwitz leaves the battlefields of Bosnia and the Middle East for a peaceful corner of the Blue Ridge Mountains, he thinks he's put war zones behind him. But awakened one morning by the crackle of musket fire, Horwitz starts filing front-line dispatches again this time from a war close to home, and to his own heart.

Propelled by his boyhood passion for the Civil War, Horwitz embarks on a search for places and people still held in thrall by America's greatest conflict. The result is an adventure into the soul of the unvanquished South, where the ghosts of the Lost Cause are resurrected through ritual and remembrance.

In Virginia, Horwitz joins a band of 'hardcore' reenactors who crash-diet to achieve the hollow-eyed look of starved Confederates; in Kentucky, he witnesses Klan rallies and calls for race war sparked by the killing of a white man who brandishes a rebel flag; at Andersonville, he finds that the prison's commander, executed as a war criminal, is now exalted as a martyr and hero; and in the book's climax, Horwitz takes a marathon trek from Antietam to Gettysburg to Appomattox in the company of Robert Lee Hodge, an eccentric pilgrim who dubs their odyssey the 'Civil Wargasm.'

Written with Horwitz's signature blend of humor, history, and hard-nosed journalism, Confederates in the Attic brings alive old battlefields and new ones 'classrooms, courts, country bars' where the past and the present collide, often in explosive ways. Poignant and picaresque, haunting and hilarious, it speaks to anyone who has ever felt drawn to the mythic South and to the dark romance of the Civil War.

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remembrances across Alabama. “I remember one party they took us to up near Tuscaloosey,” Alberta said. “They shot some guns and I was too close and that made me deaf in my right ear.” She also found herself at a demonstration in Montgomery in support of keeping the rebel battle flag flying from the statehouse. “I think it should be there,” she said. “One flag can just as well fly as another. But it’s not worth no fuss and fight. Blacks all hate it. And you know, there’s lots of people that’s

larger-than-life men like Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee and Nathan Bedford Forrest. “That was our Homeric period,” Robert Penn Warren wrote of the Civil War, “and the figures loom up only a little less than gods.” In reality, they weren’t gods at all, which only made them more intriguing. The more I read, the more I realized that the marble men of Southern myth were often prideful and petty figures who hurt their own Cause by bickering, even challenging each other to duels. Northern generals

Or so I’d always read. I walked into the middle of Duncan Field and turned slowly in a circle. Here was a 360-degree panorama that corresponded to the Platonic ideal of a Civil War battleground I’d carried in my head since childhood. A broad meadow bounded by wilderness, with a mud-chinked log cabin lying in amongst the trees. The crooked, hand-hewn simplicity of a split-rail fence. The Sunken Road, worn down by pioneer wagons toting apples and timber and corn. Bronze-snouted cannons poking out

wrong.” Most history books, for instance, described the 1862 terrain at Shiloh as covered in impenetrable spring woods. But after watching spring unfold for six years at Shiloh, Allen began to wonder if this was really so. Studying old weather charts and nineteenth-century farm records, he discovered that spring came to Shiloh very late in 1862. Most trees remained bare. Allen also learned that Shiloh’s farmers cleared their land for crops and fenced livestock out of the fields. So cattle and

in Korea. So I guess they just never reached out to each other.” Across from me sat an eighty-year-old named Laura Jones, who served as president of the Legion’s women’s auxiliary. She was the granddaughter of a black soldier who had served at Vicksburg; his name was etched on the Illinois monument. When she was a girl, her family would visit the battlefield park every weekend. “It was free, we could play on the monuments, pick pecans and walnuts and plums, and look for Grandaddy’s name.” She

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