Monday, March 9, 2015

What we're discussing on Mar.26: Race and Reunion

What the critics say:

''Race and Reunion'' demonstrates forcefully that in the year 2001, it still matters very much how we remember the Civil War.”
--NY Times
This book will be the standard for how public perceptions of the Civil War were formed and propagated in a manner directly analogous to today's doublespeak and spin control.
--Publishers Weekly
The main thrust of Blight's book is that, in the end, the white supremacist vision won.
--Southern Cultures
The book’s pages will continue to be underlined, annotated, and coffee-stained because the questions it posed were the very questions that Americans have asked themselves again and again, generation after generation. What did the Civil War mean? How can we make sense of such an unprecedented struggle?
--Civil War Monitor
As Blight makes abundantly clear, white healing and reunion came at an enormous cost, one that we are still paying today.
--New England Quarterly
Indeed, even after the efforts of Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and others to raise the modern and historical profile of African Americans including Ken Burn's thoughtful Civil War television series--the force of reconciliationist memory remains strong. "To this day, at the beginning of the twenty-first century," Blight warns, "much of Civil War nostalgia is still rooted in the fateful choices made in the latter two decades of the nineteenth century."
--Canadian Journal of History
The book shows us how Southerners, decisively whipped on the battlefield, managed, nevertheless, to wrest a victory on the intellectual, social, and economic fronts. They did this by willfully manipulating the national press, historiography, and literature to show that the war had been about states rights, the right to property, and the right to live an agrarian life free of the class strife that supposedly plagued the industrialized North
--African American Review
In the end, the author persuasively shows that Northern and Southern advocates of reconciliation triumphed by forging a highly romanticized narrative of new nationalism based upon the bravery and sacrifice of Union and Confederate soldiers. Everyone was a hero and no one a villain. Controversial subjects such as slavery were conveniently forgotten.
--Civil War Times
The initial price of Civil War reunion was the perpetuation of white racism--a price the majority of Americans were willing to pay in 1913. But the hidden costs mounted. Fifty years later, Martin Luther King, Jr., called for a renewed commitment to fulfill the promises of emancipation--a genuine rebirth of freedom, a struggle to which many remain committed.
--American Prospect

Did the South win the peace?
Come to the second meeting of the Non-fiction Book Discussion Group on Thursday, Mar. 26 at 10 am in the Arnold Room. 

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