Last night PBS aired the first episode of its Civil War drama, Mercy Street. As some of you know I had a chance to preview the first season (6 episodes). You can also read it at History News Network, but I should warn you that it covers the entire season. I don’t think by reading you will ruin your own viewing experience, but there are a few minor spoilers.
My evaluation of the show does not get bogged down in dialog. Yes, you will find some of your standard cliches and, at times, some of the dialog will leave you wincing. It’s inevitable in this kind of production.
I was much more interested in how the show directs our thinking about the war in all of its complexity. It is here that I believe Mercy Street excels, but don’t take my word for it. Watch it for yourself and let me know what you think.
I will be reviewing both the book and the movie, which hits theaters this coming summer, for The Daily Beast. A couple of weeks ago I asked Vikki to reflect on the place of this movie in the context of our recent Civil War memory.
My trip to Prague this past summer forced me for the first time to consider the ongoing debate about the place of Confederate monuments in public spaces within an international context. We would do well to remember that other nations have faced and/or are currently dealing with divisive questions surrounding memorial/commemorative landscapes. Many of these debates reflect divisions with deep historical roots that easily surpass those that can be traced to our own civil war. [click to continue…]