James Loewen on the Myth of the Lost Cause

This is an interview with James Loewen, who is the co-editor of The Confederate and Neo-Confederate Reader: The “Great Truth” About the “Lost Cause” published by the University Press of Mississippi.  I already use most of the documents that are included in this reader, but it is nice to have such a collection available to high school and college instructors.  It will definitely come in handy for my course on Civil War Memory next trimester.

A talk with James W. Loewen from University Press of Mississippi on Vimeo.

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14 comments… add one

  • Margaret D. Blough Oct 14, 2010

    Excellent presentation. Thanks for posting it.

  • MississippiLawyer Oct 14, 2010

    I don’t like the guy who filmed it laughing right next to the camera. distracting.

    • Kevin Levin Oct 15, 2010

      Yes, he is a bit annoying.

  • Patrick Lewis Oct 15, 2010

    I was quite pleased to have taken a brief look at the volume a few weeks ago. Great to see it getting as much publicity as possible. Loewen is in many ways responsible for my “conversion” from neo-Confederatism. I heard him give a talk during my first year of undergrad that made me seriously reconsider — and seek out scholarship on — the Confederate cause and memory culture into which I was immersed growing up. But I’ll not preach to the choir.

    • Kevin Levin Oct 15, 2010

      I requested a review copy from the publisher. I’ve used most of these documents in class and as you know they are readily available online. I am more interested in their editorial comments. It’s easy to frame these documents around correcting the misrepresentations of secession, but they also deserve to be properly introduced, especially if they truly intend for this book to be utilized for classroom purposes. Loewen can do this, but I’ve never seen Sebesta engage in serious historical analysis.

      • Jonathan Dresner Oct 15, 2010

        I’m really looking forward to hearing your comments on the book. There’s a possibility that I might be doing a historiography course in the medium-term future, and it sounds like something I might be able to use, even though I’m not an Americanist.

        • Kevin Levin Oct 15, 2010

          The publisher agreed to send me a review copy.

  • Mark Tueting Oct 15, 2010

    Kevin,

    This is off topic, but I couldn’t find a contact e-mail on the sidebar.

    We talked about Neoconfederate use of Anthony Johnson in my AP US history class and, sure enough he was highlighted when we traveled to Jamestown on a field trip. While putting together our colonial culture test, I stumbled across a website that uses Johnson to blame slavery on – wait for it – black people.

    http://www.confederatecolonel.com/?p=39

    The site also hosts a glorious example of Neoconfederate propaganda:

    http://www.confederatecolonel.com/misc_files/TheConfederateHandbook.pdf

    I thought you’d enjoy these.

    • Kevin Levin Oct 15, 2010

      Hi Mark,

      I am familiar with the website and not surprised to find such an interpretation of Johnson. It’s great to hear that you are talking about these issues in your AP class. These websites are wonderful examples of how easy it is to distort the past.

  • mcvouty Oct 16, 2010

    I can’t wait to read this. Thanks for pointing it out.

    Sadly, over at the Amazon page there is only 1 review…entitled “Righteous Victor Mythology”, so there you have it. Anyone who has actually READ the book should review it and save it from having a 1-star rating. (Fortunately, the review has 8 replies, all of them accusing the “reviewer” of having an agenda and probably not reading the book.)

  • Matt McKeon Oct 16, 2010

    black slaveowners are very precious to neo Confederates.

  • Dick Stanley Oct 17, 2010

    Wonderful interview video, Kevin. Thanks for posting that. I will buy the book.

    • Kevin Levin Oct 18, 2010

      No problem. Keep in mind that you can read these documents online. I’ve got a review copy on the way and will let you know what kind of introduction is offered and any other relevant information.

  • Dick Stanley Oct 19, 2010

    I’ve now read the book’s free sample for the Kindle. The introduction is as even-handed as his previous “Lies My Teacher Told Me,” which I enjoyed precisely for that reason.

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