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Entertaining History

Entertaining History

The Civil War in Literature, Film, and Song

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Edited by Chris Mackowski

$26.50

Paperback (Other formats: E-book)
978-0-8093-3757-6
272 pages, 6 x 9, 27 illustrations
02/10/2020

Engaging the Civil War

 

Additional Materials

  • Supplemental Materials

About the Book

Popular media can spark the national consciousness in a way that captures people’s attention, interests them in history, and inspires them to visit battlefields, museums, and historic sites. This lively collection of essays and feature stories celebrates the novels, popular histories, magazines, movies, television shows, photography, and songs that have enticed Americans to learn more about our most dramatic historical era.

From Ulysses S. Grant’s Memoirs to Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, from Roots to Ken Burns’s The Civil War, from “Dixie” to “Ashokan Farewell,” and from Civil War photography to the Gettysburg Cyclorama, trendy and well-loved depictions of the Civil War are the subjects of twenty contributors who tell how they and the general public have been influenced by them. Sarah Kay Bierle examines the eternal appeal of Gone with the Wind and asks how it is that a protagonist who so opposed the war has become such a figurehead for it. H. R. Gordon talks with New York Times–bestselling novelist Jeff Shaara to discuss the power of storytelling. Paul Ashdown explores ColdMountain’s value as a portrait of the war as national upheaval, and Kevin Pawlak traces a shift in cinema’s depiction of slavery epitomized by 12 Years a Slave. Tony Horwitz revisits his iconic Confederates in the Attic twenty years later.

The contributors’ fresh analysis articulates a shared passion for history’s representation in the popular media. The variety of voices and topics in this collection coalesces into a fascinating discussion of some of the most popular texts in the genres. In keeping with the innovative nature of this series, web-exclusive material extends the conversation beyond the book.

 

Authors/Editors

Chris Mackowski is the editor in chief of Emerging Civil War and a coeditor of the Engaging the Civil War series. The historian-in-residence at Stevenson Ridge, a historic property on the Spotsylvania battlefield, and the author of more than a dozen books, he is a writing in St. Bonaventure University’s Jandoli School of Communication, where he also serves as associate dean of undergraduate programs.

Reviews

“Brisk and lively, the essays in Entertaining History convey the immersive joy of reading, watching, and listening to popular Civil War history.”—Megan Kate Nelson, author of Ruin Nation: Destruction and the American Civil War

“The contributors to this volume have written an engaging collection of short essays introducing readers to many of the key works of literature, film, and music that influence how we remember the Civil War.”—Christian McWhirter, author of Battle Hymns: The Power and Popularity of Music in the Civil War