Reviews in Civil War Memory

There are three excellent reviews of titles which fall into the memory literature over at H-South.  Susan- Mary Grant reviews Fitzhugh Brundage’s Southern Pasts: A Clash of Race and MemoryDerek Firsby reviews John Coski’s The Confederate Battle Flag: America’s Most Embattled Emblem.  (Coski’s book is now available in paperback.)  Mattew Barbee reviews K Michael Princes’s Rally Round the Flag, Boys!: South Carolina and the Confederate Battle Flag. I’ve read and highly recommend both Brundage’s and Coski’s  books.

David Herr offers a few words on history and heritage that relate to the issues discussed in these studies:

So, the question remains, what can Southerners with Confederate
interests and connections do to commemorate their heritage? The _Boston
Globe_ addressed that question in part recently, with Peter Canellos
remarking that, "the complicated history of the Confederate flag is a
family-only discussion in the South. . . . Only those inside the
Southern family circle can truly understand the region’s complicated
relationship with its own history."[1] To our sensibility, this is
exactly the opposite of how the debate needs to happen, for it is only
within the _American_ context, not merely the Southern, that the debate
over the flag, and over the heritage question in general, has to
proceed. In truth of course, as academics that is exactly how we have
proceeded, but the popular vernacular seems not to have kept pace. As
Canellos reports, Senator George Allen’s past affection for his
Confederate heritage might tarnish his presidential aspirations, but is
there some way that a future George Allen can celebrate his heritage in
such a way as to not destroy his credibility on a national stage?  Have
historians’ recent efforts to consider memory, its role in history and
its predominance in public, popular understanding of the past, provided
any insight into this issue?

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