War Between the States: If It’s Good Enough For Jeopardy…

So, I spent part of my afternoon with a university press book that I am reviewing for one of the Civil War journals. It’s a pretty good read so far, but one of the things that caught my attention is on one occasion the author referred to the war as The War Between the States. I have to admit that it caught me by surprise. Other than this one reference the author refers to “Civil War generals”, “Civil War soldiers”, “Civil War battles” etc. It will be interesting to see if there are additional references to WBTS as I read further. For what it’s worth, the author teaches at a northern college.

Rest assured that it will have absolutely no impact on how I evaluate the book in my review. Like I said, the reference took me by surprise. If it’s good enough for Jeopardy than it’s good enough for me.

7 comments… add one

  • Patrick Young Jan 4, 2014

    Let me write your first 40 words: “There are many problems with this volume, but I have space to only focus on one. The use of the phrase “The War Between the States” illustrates the lack of exactitude in terminology, as well as the latent racism, I found lurking on every page…”

  • Wallace Hettle Jan 4, 2014

    Would Jeopardy accept “What was the War of the Rebellion?” :)

  • Garry Adelman Jan 5, 2014

    Sometimes I equate this to diversity of wording as much as any deeper meaning, like using Yankee/Federal/Union/Bluecoat and Confederate/Rebel/Southerner etc… just to avoid constant repetition. For the Civil War Trust’s four minute summary of the war video we called it “War Between the States” because we thought having a video called “Civil War In4–The Civil War” sounded stupid. The content therein, however, is not indicative of content usually ascribed to the use of the term, however, I assure you. :)

    • Kevin Levin Jan 5, 2014

      Hi Garry,

      I am sure that’s the reason. I am now 70 pages into it is the only reference. Like I said, it just took me by surprise given that it is an academic press book. Happy New Year!

      • Betty Giragosian Jan 6, 2014

        Kevin, today there is a good essay on this subject by Old Virginia Blog. Maybe you could post a link. It would be good for all commenters to read, as it does express how we feel down here. I have always said War Between the States. Nothing wrong with that, because that is what it was.

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