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Vol. 2, No. 2: Winter 1996

  //  winter 1996

This winter we ask questions and uncover some answers about the Civil War, and consider the Confederate battle flag in American history, culture, and public spaces.

Table of Contents

Front Porch: Winter 1996

by Harry L. Watson
As kids, we obviously lacked a lot of factual information, but age and ignorance were not our only sources of confusion. Instead, as Americans and white southerners both, we couldn’t be entirely sure who “we” were. It must have been about the time of the Fort Sumter Centennial that a bunch of us boys found »

The American Civil War in Economic Perspective: Basic Questions and Some Answers

by Peter A. Coclanis
“Estimating the Civil War’s cost can be a difficult and unseemly business, according to the author. Yet economists and historians keep arguing over the figure.” No event has so captured the historical imagination of Americans as the Civil War. Ask Ken Burns, creator of the acclaimed PBS series, or better yet one of his accountants. »

Forever Faithful: The Southern Historical Society and Confederate Historical Memory

by Richard D. Starnes
An important campaign of the Civil War began in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1869. Sporadic outbreaks of resistance had occurred since 1865, and the events in New Orleans merely gave organization and direction to Confederate resistance efforts. Like the military operations undertaken between 1861 and 1865, the dedicated white southerners who carried out the campaign »

The Confederate Battle Flag in American History and Culture

by John M. Coski
“Through more than three dozen photographs, the author reveals the battle flag’s history and its symbolism.” The most controversial and ubiquitous of Confederate symbols today, as well as for the last half-century, is the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia—a blue St. Andrews cross emblazoned on a field of red.

The Confederate Flag and the Meaning of Southern History

by Kevin Thornton
“The author argues that the time has come to give up the Confederate battle flag as a public symbol. A sense of southern identity, though, should be preserved.” For most of this century, public memory in the South has cherished the noble Lost Cause. The Confederate monument in Yazoo City, Mississippi, erected in 1909 by »

Andersonville: The Last Depot by William Marvel (Review)

by Robert C. Kenzer
University of North Carolina Press, 1994 William Marvel begins his award-winning study of Andersonville Prison by observing, “Some 41,000 men shuffled into the prison stockade at Anderson Station, Georgia, between February of 1864 and April of 1865. Of those, perhaps 26,000 lived long enough to reach home. Theirs was undoubtedly the most unpleasant experience of »

The Civil War in Popular Culture: A Reusable Past by Jim Cullen (Review)

by David Glassberg
Smithsonian Institution Press, 1995 The Civil War has been history for more than 130 years. In the decades immediately after Appomattox, Americans developed countless narratives of the war’s events. Their versions of the conflict were communicated through soldiers’ stories and local commemorative rituals that varied according to whether they lived in the North or the »

From Congregation Town to Industrial City: Culture and Social Change in a Southern Community by Michael Shirley (Review)

by Tom Hanchett
New York University Press, 1994 In the hundred years since the Industrial Revolution, a market revolution has transformed the American economy and in the process drastically reshaped all aspects of daily life. Once a nation of relatively isolated farmsteads and insular villages where families produced much of what they needed themselves, the United States has »

Race and Democracy: The Civil Rights Struggle in Louisiana, 1915-1972 by Adam Fairclough (Review)

by Lawrence N. Powell
University of Georgia Press, 1995 If the Montgomery-to-Selma paradigm dominates civil rights history, it is easy to understand why. The Montgomery bus boycott that opened the era thrust the mantle of leadership on Martin Luther King Jr., whose prophetic charisma still defines the period. Ten years later the Selma march, which spurred passage of the »

Surveying the South: Studies in Regional Sociology (Review)

by John David Smith
University of Missouri Press, 1993. Surveying the South reprints ten articles published by John Shelton Reed between 1978 and 1991. Appropriately, Reed dedicates his collection of essays to distinguished pioneer sociologists Guy B. Johnson, Edgar T. Thompson, and Rupert B. Vance. One of the nation’s foremost regional sociologists, Reed devotes considerable attention to the contributions »

Will the South Do It Again?

by John Shelton Reed
“This time, our pollster asks the question, ‘Do you agree or disagree that, if it could be done without war, the South would be better off as a separate country today?'” In his presidential address to the American Association for Public Opinion Research, which he titled “The Obligation of the 1950 Pollster to the 1984 »

The Confederate Battle Flag: A Symbol of Southern Heritage and Identity

by Clyde N. Wilson
I remember my own father and uncles returning from World War II with stories of how southerners, particularly rural and working-class ones, were denigrated and ridiculed by conscripted urbanités for their speech, manners, attitudes. There was a general cultural attack at the time on “hillbillies.” This was the beginning of their sectional consciousness I am »
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